Faces on Fifth: Chloe Ho at the Forbes Galleries

The last show to debut at the historic Forbes Galleries before the museum closes at its Fifth Avenue location, Chloe Ho’s “Under the Surface” is a piquant collection of figurative and abstract work by the Hong-Kong based artist that explores the boundaries of waking consciousness.  Representing a wide range of traditional and new media, Ho’s work incorporates everything from traditional Chinese inks to coffee stains, charcoal and spray paint, creating a volume of work that shifts between the restless and the serene with the insouciance of a school of shimmering fish.

“I wanted to encapsulate the microcosmic and the macrocosmic,” Ho says. “I’m interested in what’s under the surface, both psychologically and literally.” Her work hovers at the edge of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it take on the infinite, with figures becoming forms becoming shadows becoming something suggestive of a new reality altogether. Stains bloom as aquatic flowers and coffee spills become seething life forms; small deft likenesses suggest both the people they depict and the way those people are perceived in time.

Ho studied traditional ink calligraphy as a child and through school and her training shows in the bold yet practical economy she brings to much of her work, along with a wryly unobtrusive wit very much her own. Her new media pieces incorporate coffee splashes as a symbol of consumption that is in China both mundane and aspirational. “It’s a socially acceptable form of addiction,” Ho says. “It’s something both glamorous and work-oriented, a drug that helps you perform.”

Ho and her curator, Calvin Hui, were delighted to have the chance to show at the Forbes Galleries. “It’s an amazing building and very different from what we are accustomed to in Hong Kong in terms of floor plan and space,” Hui notes. “It was a challenging job to determine exactly what to show and where.”

“It’s amazing to think that this will be the last show at the Forbes Galleries,” Ho said. “It’s an honor to have worked with the wonderful curatorial team and had the chance to show in such an classic space.”

Ho’s work will share the space with three other shows, including Kevin W. Burns’ delightful “Fool of Myself” until November 14, 2014. Her work will subsequently appear at the Fine Art Asia 2014 art fair. We hope our readers will be able to see her work in New York and visit a small but much-loved cultural space before its closing.

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