Near and Distant Shores | Krista Machovina

Thomases Family Endowment Art Gallery


Los Angeles based artist Krista Machovina has always been drawn to the water and has worked with the theme of the sea since 2010.  Recently, upon viewing her grandmother’s scrapbooks from the ’20s and ’30s, she found pictures of her relatives enjoying the water as much as she did. Though all of these Ohio based immigrants are long gone, working with their photos of a shared pleasure has allowed Krista to get to know them in a different way. Her father’s Air Force career took them far from the Ohio of her ancestors but brought the family to other shores including Washington, California, the Philippines, Rhode Island, and North Carolina. Near and Distant Shores represents the elements of distance in both time and location. It features minimalist seascapes and portraits of water as well as mixed media pieces incorporating grandparents and great grandparents and other relatives.


I have been painting images of water for many years. I love being in and near the water as much as I can. In my eyes, the ocean acts as a mirror to its environment, changing constantly in reflection of the light and weather. This mutability translates into metaphors of feeling and being for me, and ultimately has infinite possibilities of interpretation.

After coming across an old family photo album I discovered that the love of water is something that I share with my grandmother. Inherently I knew this - although she lived in Ohio until she retired in Arizona, she seemed to make an effort to take cruises and be around the water whenever possible.  In looking through the scrapbooks from the ’20s, I saw that her parents, sisters and other relatives did as well. As working-class immigrants living in Cleveland, they made an effort to get to the beaches of Lake Erie and documented it in photographs.  These were not rich people by any means, but the photos show that they took time off, and appeared to enjoy each other’s company. My grandmother was a “Swiss Turner”, a gymnastics club that took her all over the Midwest - often via boats through the Great Lakes.   By working with these photos, I am able to get to know relatives I have never met, with a point connection found in water. I can see myself in them. I look at my grandmother and her sisters as teens and it evokes a memory of my own time at the beach with my immediate family.  My father’s Air Force career took us to Far East Asia, but trips to beaches on the South China Sea look awfully similar to days at Geneva on the Lake. Although they are apart in time and distance, they remain side by side in experience.

CLICK HERE to watch a video interview and workshop tour with Krista Machovina


Krista Machovina is a painter and mixed media artist, with training as an art therapist and art educator. As an artist, Krista draws inspiration from the natural world, in particular the sea and sky, vintage ephemera and found objects. These elements create a narrative of every changing boundaries; those that merge, some diffuse and others starkly clear. A majority of her work is absent of the human form, creating a meditative, immersive environment for the viewer. Recent mixed media work incorporates images from her family history, reflecting their shared love of the water. Her paintings are evocative of and influenced by the Tonalist and Color Field movement, with an element of American Gothic Romanticism.

Krista Machovina's childhood was spent moving every 2-3 years with her military family including 3 years of high school in the Republic of the Philippines.  Then and now, throughout chaos and change, art remains a constant.  Her experience as an art therapist and educator has led her to continue to work with non-profits sharing the life enhancing aspects of art making with underserved, marginalized, and medically fragile populations.  She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art Education from the University of Illinois and a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.  Krista maintains a studio at Keystone Art Space, a fine and industrial arts complex in Los Angeles. 

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