Advertisement

Amanda Ross-Ho

Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, USA

‘Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day.’ That stoner koan from the 1987 comedy Withnail & I floated into my mind while looking at Amanda Ross-Ho’s solo show at Mitchell Innes & Nash. Twelve large clock faces, scrawled with colourful brush-marks, and pencilled notes-to-self, line the walls. The dials are missing their hands. These are hung in a forlorn line, each set to half-past six, near the entrance to the show. If the clock faces tell us that time is one subject of Ross-Ho’s show, then the dirty, outsized wine glasses, cups, forks, art materials and tools scattered across two big tables in the centre of the gallery tell us that scale is her other topic. (It’s a recurring theme throughout her work.) This is further emphasised by the crass adolescent 1970s t-shirt slogan that Ross-Ho appropriated for the title of her show; ‘My Pen is Huge.’ So, time and scale. Or should I say: timescale. Stoner mind blown.

web_ross-ho_untitled-timepiece-5-in-the-box_14233.jpg

Amanda Ross-Ho, Untitled Timepiece (5 IN THE BOX), 2017. Silkscreen, acrylic, gouache, coffee, wine, and graphite on canvas covered panel, 1.3 x 1.3 m. Courtesy: the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York

Amanda Ross-Ho, Untitled Timepiece (5 IN THE BOX), 2017, silkscreen, acrylic, gouache, coffee, wine, and graphite on canvas covered panel, 1.3 x 1.3 m. Courtesy: the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York

Phrases scrawled on the dials and tables, haloed with red wine stains from the giant glasses, and daubs dumped from brushes overloaded with paint are measures of Ross-Ho’s thinking. Big ideas mingle with everyday to-do lists: ‘SETTLING FOR THE CRUMBS OF A FAKE CONDEMNATION.’ ‘CHANGE BANK ACCT.’ ‘HYPERBOLE EPIDEMIC.’ ‘GRAPESEED, JOJOBA, AVOCADO…’ ‘INSTITUTIONAL FIDELITY.’ ‘DECIDE FABRIC’, ‘COSMETIC MANTLE.’‘STUFF PATTERNS ETC. STUDIO.’ The kind of mental gigantism and miniaturism that we all grapple with. Does God exist and where in God’s name are my front door keys? What is love and shit I forgot to buy milk and is Little Richard still alive? Banal thoughts, stupid thoughts, thoughts best kept to yourself. Thoughts that keep you up at night and thoughts that sustain a lifetime of art-making. By inscribing hers on the surfaces of the works in this show – all made in situ using the gallery as a makeshift studio – Ross-Ho stages for us process and method in all its workaday glory.

web_ross-ho_-untitled-hands-4-hour-minute-second_14323.jpg

Amanda Ross-Ho, Untitled Hands #4 (HOUR, MINUTE, SECOND), 2017. Plated and powder coated CNC cut aluminium, 158 x 24 x 3 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York 

Amanda Ross-Ho, Untitled Hands #4 (HOUR, MINUTE, SECOND), 2017, plated and powder coated CNC cut aluminium, 158 x 24 x 3 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York
 

With their bold-face serif numerals surrounded by darts and squiggles of primary colour and covered with Ross-Ho’s spidery handwriting, the clock faces give her show the air of a chaotic horologist’s workshop; perhaps an inventor straight out of H.G. Wells or Jules Verne, on the brink of a breakthrough in time-travel or a breakdown of the mind. (One dial, numbered in a heavy Helvetica, looks more like a vandalised clock in a modern Dutch train station.) These busy surfaces scream urgency. You can never transcribe enough thinking and compress enough making onto these surfaces, they seem to say; or put another way, there is never enough time in which to do all you need to. Art occurs in fits-and-starts; it’s made across periods of boredom and excitement, compressed into moments of intense activity and stretched across spells of necessary dormancy. And as the radically mis-scaled glasses, tableware and marks on the tables suggest (echoes of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s gigantic pop sculptures perhaps), with the passing of that time, events and things grow and shrink in importance. The significance of the occasion you had that bottle of red wine with a friend in the studio grows huge in memory, dwarfing the meaning of the drawing you felt pleased to have made that same day. All of which is to say: nothing in Ross-Ho’s show was really news to anyone who has experienced being human, but she delivered that old news with good humour and generosity.

Main image: Amanda Ross-Ho, 'MY PEN IS HUGE', installation view at Mitchell-Innes and Nash, New York, 2017. Courtesy: the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York

Dan Fox is the US Editor at Large of frieze and is based in New York. His book Pretentiousness: Why It Matters is published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in the UK, and Coffee House Press in the US.

Issue 192

First published in Issue 192

January - February 2018
Advertisement

Most Read

Why does the ‘men’s rights’ guru to the alt-right surround himself with Soviet-era memorabilia, which he doesn’t even...
Alongside a centuries-old collection of Old Masters, Delftware and Chinoiserie, the Devonshires continue to commission...
In a Victorian-era baths in Glasgow, the artist stages her largest performance project to date, featuring a 24-woman...
In further news: UK class gap impacting young people’s engagement with the arts; Uffizi goes digital; British Museum...
Italian politicians want to censor the artist’s poster for a sailing event, which reads ‘We’re all in the same boat’
A newly-published collection of the artist’s journals allows silenced voices to speak
The arrest of the photojournalist for ‘provocative comments’ over Dhaka protests makes clear that personal liberty...
The auction house insists that there is a broad scholarly consensus that the record-breaking artwork be attributed to...
‘We need more advocates across gender lines and emphatic leaders in museums and galleries to create inclusive,...
In further news: artists rally behind detained photographer Shahidul Alam; crisis talks at London museums following...
Criticism of the show at the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest comes alongside a nationalist reshaping of the...
A retrospective at Munich’s Museum Brandhorst charts the artist’s career from the 1980s to the present, from ‘fem-trash...
At the National Theatre of Wales, a performance alive with wild, tactile descriptions compels comparison between the...
There are perils in deploying bigotry to score political points, but meanings also shift from West to East
‘It’s ridiculous. It’s Picasso’: social media platform to review nudity policy after blocking Montreal Museum of Fine...
The first public exhibition of a 15th-century altar-hanging prompts the question: who made it?
Poland’s feminist ‘Bison Ladies’ storm the Japanese artist’s Warsaw exhibition in solidarity with longtime model Kaori’...
An art historian and leading Leonardo expert has cast doubt on the painting’s attribution
How will the Black Panther writer, known for his landmark critical assessments of race, take on the quintessential...
The dissident artist has posted a series of videos on Instagram documenting diggers demolishing his studio in the...
In further news: artists for Planned Parenthood; US court rules on Nazi-looted Cranachs; Munich’s Haus der Kunst...
A mother’s death, a father’s disinterest: Jean Frémon’s semi-factual biography of the artist captures a life beyond...
Jostling with its loud festival neighbours, the UK’s best attended annual visual art festival conducts a polyphonic...
It’s not clear who destroyed the project – part of the Liverpool Biennial – which names those who have died trying to...
Dating from 1949 to the early 1960s, the works which grace the stately home feel comfortable in the ostentatious pomp...
Nods to the game in World Cup celebrations show how dance has gone viral – but unwittingly instrumentalized for...

On View

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018

frieze magazine

June - August 2018