Devastating Loves & Transcendent Hatreds : Christine So : You're Everywhere and Nowhere
Abrams Claghorn Shop
You're Everywhere and Nowhere
Cyanotype on paper
20 x 16 inches, 2022
I printed You’re Everywhere and Nowhere three weeks after my husband died last year. It happened quite suddenly on an ordinary day, leaving a house full of his things just as they’d be on an ordinary day. His shoes were still lined up under the bench. His toothbrush was still by the sink. Everything looked just as it had been, yet nothing was the same. I could leave the house and another hundred things would remind me of him outside. Foods he loved in the grocery store. A father carrying a little girl. A man in an orange sweater. He was everywhere and nowhere to be found. To convey this duality, I used the analog double-exposure technique of laying one photo negative on top of the other during exposure to create a dreamlike juxtaposition of images. I superimposed Tony’s empty shoes over a foggy path where I hiked. His empty shoes left behind represent the hundred things that daily remind those grieving of their missing one no matter where they go.
Christine So is best known for her work in the 19th century medium of cyanotype. Her fog-shrouded trees in dreamlike blues transport the viewer to a place of calm. Since the loss of her husband in 2022, these familiar trees and stillness of the morning woods have been a comfort. A former printmaker, Christine was drawn to analog photography and cyanotype since monochrome creates a hush and a focus in a way that a busy image of several colors cannot. Endlessly curious, she explores this medium’s potential through constant innovation, both using photo negatives and shooting without a lens. She prints eerie ghostlike photos of juxtaposed images, botanicals in multiple exposures, abstract cyanotypes in ten shades of watery blue, alters the chemical recipe to get colors other than blue, and paints pictures using the photo emulsion and exposes images within that image. She works in her garden studio in the Oakland Hills.