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Nick McPhail at Ochi Projects

On view: January 11–February 15, 2020

At Ochi Projects in Mid City, Nick McPhail’s paintings depict neighborhoods of a different sort — the ones nestled high on the hills of L.A. with views that sweep across the landscape. McPhail, who was employed for a time by a landscape architect, depicts the meeting of nature and architecture. These are not scenes of gritty urban L.A. Alluring underpainted colors demarcate and outline McPhail’s modernist structures and landscapes, each possessing a buzzy internal glow. Stepped Wall (all works 2019) pictures a large retaining wall buttressing a house above, framed by palms. The vantage point is from below, as if we are outside looking up at this monolithic, walled-off home. Other works grant us an entrance into these exclusive spaces, as in Reflection with Table, where the vantage point has you looking out through french doors. The mood of this work, like all of the works on view, feels longing or lonely, as if once granted access, we might yearn for the streets below.