“I always remember as a child being able to see auras and colors around people, to feel energy even before I could really express myself. It is an awareness, a connection that is deep and vivid. I think this strong inner and visual sensibility led me to be an artist”, up and coming Hong Kong based artist Chloe Ho reminisced the very first award she received from Time Magazine at the young age of eight. If this early discovery and recognition of her artistic gift is called destiny, then her confident yet unpredictable brushstrokes and use of creative media, her audacious yet contemplative expression are the young artist’s declaration that she is in control of her own fate.
In the Eye of a Storm
Subjectively ambiguous, Chloe Ho’s tableau calls to mind both the allure and poeticism of traditional Chinese landscape as well as the intensity and exuberance of Abstract Expressionism from the West. Perhaps the unpredictability and the delicate balance between chance and control shared between the ancient medium ink and modern abstract approach are where the artist finds clarity of the linkage between her art and life, as if she is standing in the calmness of the eye of a storm, observing the swirl and twirl of life while allowing her creative being to embrace the unknown. Born in California to an American mother and Chinese father then settled in Hong Kong in the age of five, Ho came from a distinguished family who has allowed her to be nourished in both Eastern and Western cultures and receive education in both art forms in different parts of the world. Although her multicultural and promising background is the artist’s fate that could not have been chosen by her, it is her boldness to take a path less travelled and her tireless effort to experiment myriad of techniques and creative media, such as Chinese ink, acrylic, spray ink, charcoal and coffee, in pursuit of her own voice that place her on a solid ground in her artistic career, such is the fascinating relationship between chance and control in life, which the artist utilizes as the raw material to narrate her profound understanding of the complexity of our identity, the connection between man and nature, and our evolution in relation to the mysterious universe.
Art and Life, the Unconfined Illumination
Her works Autumn and Summer are fine examples of Ho’s approach to art, verging between representation and abstraction, challenging preconceived ideas of how things should be, while bringing out the spirituality of ink in her expressive and intuitive compositions. Blending the amorphous human nude forms into the emotions of the seasons and the otherworldliness of landscape through the harmonious balance between ink and colors, Ho illustrates nature in permanent flux and its relationship with man whose ambiguous identity is the result of both the uncompromising force of nature and their own decisions in the process of evolution. Painted on fabric, the works reveal her deliberate brushstrokes as well as those unconscious splashes of ink and colors with a unique sense of physicality. These two works together with some of the most iconic and well received works of Chloe Ho will be featured in her first exhibition in Europe, “Unconfined Illumination”, to be held in 3812 Gallery, London. This major exhibition is a nod to the distinctive achievement of the progressive young artist. From her dream-like delineation of the animals and ethereal human landscapes to the psychologically complex portraits and expressive ink abstraction, Chloe Ho has displayed her insightful comprehension of the world through her increasingly mature skills.
Back to her hometown Hong Kong, Chloe Ho’s presence is beyond the white cubes of gallery space, connecting art and life in the third largest art hub in the world. Her recent projects include the collaboration with the new five-star hotel Rosewood, where her ethereal abstract painting Ocean’s Vase is printed on many hotel items such as key cards and notebooks, eliciting the natural beauty of Hong Kong throughout the hotel. Ho also works with artists of other disciplines to promote art in the city; for example, her collaboration with Hong Kong ballet in its “Hong Kong Cool” showcase gave the city’s art scene a breath of fresh air. Printed on the dancers’ costumes and projected on stage in the dance performance Mellifluous, Ho’s work added to the visual effect of the show. She is also an important member of First Initiative Foundation, a charity that support the development of art in the community.
In recognizing the artist’s talent in an interview, Christie’s magazine mentions that “Chloe Ho earns her privilege in this space in her own right”. This compliment is echoed by the Marie Claire Inspiring Women Award the artist earned in 2014 and Martell Artist of the Year in 2017. Indeed, her works are more than the apple of the eye, but also food of thought, waking up the subconscious and compelling viewers to ponder on such important subjects as our identity and our relationship with nature. Most importantly, she shows us that fate is only the starting point of a picture, it is up to us to decide how to finish it.
For Collect Art Journal Vol.3
(Courtesy of 3812 Gallery)