new-york

Medrie MacPhee

Philippe Daverio Gallery

Focusing on the industrial machinery that provided the base on which the economic wealth of North America was originally built, Medrie MacPhee’s recent show succeeded in breathing fresh life into that well-worn 20th-century theme—the relationship of man and machine.

The more service-oriented societies such as the United States become, the more curiously exotic common devices such as pipes, tanks, conduits, conveyers, and containing walls seem; MacPhee’s approach to her subject, which is part objective—mindful of appearances and functions—and part romantic, plays this quality up.

The harbor front in Montreal is a favorite location of MacPhee’s, and she has built a repertory of mechanical structures from studies of such industrial sites. Reality, however, was only her starting point; imagination also informs the fascinating transfigurations of things, imbuing them with a vital anthropomorphism.

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