Christopher K. Ho: Dear John

Hotchkiss Tremaine Gallery
February 25 – April 22, 2017
Reception: February 25, 4 - 6pm

In Dear John, Christopher K. Ho returns to his high school alma mater, and turns to love. How might first love and first heartbreak intersect with politics? An expansive carpet that chromatically recalls a digital background gradient fills over half the gallery, punctuated by an undulating pattern of silhouetted heart emoji. The nature of digital space—its absence of gravity, sun, horizon, or any reference point—is, for the artist, analogous to the experience of falling in, and perhaps out of, love. This question tantalizes: can social media reshape what was once merely personal into that which is socially transformative?

The exhibition’s title is a metonym for a break-up letter, and references proliferate. A code in the carpet based on punched card notation—a precursor to today’s computer languages—spells out “D-E-A-R J-O-H-N W-I-T-H L-O-V-E.” A 3D printed figurine entranced by an iPhone misses the gaze of a young man, whose face, laser engraved into glass blocks, emerges when seen from a particular vantage. A cluster of additional glass blocks, spotlighted with a heart, are surface-etched with the brambles from the pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais’ Ophelia. Workbook, a 134-page binder comprised of working drawings accompanies the exhibition.