|Notes on UNDERWATER STUDIES
Christina Hope demonstrates the dexterity of a poet when it comes to capturing—and immortalizing—that fleeting thing called beauty. Her shimmering silver-gelatin prints illuminate a favorite muse of poets through the ages: water (and the nymphs that swim in it). Like the second century BC poet Rufinus, who pined over his lover in the bath: "Her curving hip/ smooth as water, shifted,/ making waves, her hand/ covering her mons veneris/ hiding but a part of it," Hope is fascinated by the interplay of water and the human form. Her subaquatic "Underwater Studies", created in swimming pools over the past twenty years, seem to exist outside of real life; as with the sculptures of Michaelangelo and Rodin (Hope's inspirations), these elegant forms possess a timelessness borne of patience, perseverance, and a devotion to light.
The sense of effortlessness conveyed by Hope's languid models belies the artist's painstaking creative process. She explains: "All the conditions have to be right . . . the light patterns, the shadows, the movement of the fabric, and the way the figure moves under the water . . . all have to come together to achieve the effect I want. But it is the fluidity of the subject and composition which makes the art so uniquely beautiful—and which also makes it so difficult to capture on film."