HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT AND NOT AFRAID TO DIE
March 19 - April 23
Tokyo International Gallery is pleased to present Michael Rikio Ming Hee Ho’s solo exhibition, “HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT AND NOT AFRAID TO DIE”, opening on March 19.
Michael Rikio Ming Hee Ho (born 1996, Hawaii) is a Cantonese Japanese American artist practicing in Tokyo. Graduating BA in fine arts from UCLA in 2018, Ho works in both painting and sculpture to create complex works that stimulate situational discourse between the viewer and the work. Studying under artists such as Barbara Kruger and Andrea Fraser, Ho’s works frequently use a combination of symbolic imagery and bold-type texts that are provocative or confronting when they are stand-alone but ambiguously complex when combined – the result being an opaque social commentary of absurdist and comical scale that puts the viewer in a position of interpretation.
In HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT AND NOT AFRAID TO DIE, Ho has created a series of paintings and canvas sculptures that continue his practice of putting receivership at the works’ core. Intermixing texts from various mediums, ranging from news clippings, essays in art theory and even Reddit comments, Ho carefully formulates memorable texts and hand-paints them onto structural canvases saturated with symbolic imagery that reference Ho’s own oscillating relationship with American and Japanese culture. Ho’s larger-than-life monoliths stand their ground, provoking the viewer to make sense of their own physical and social position in relation to Ho’s own mixed but certain stance on a variety of political and theoretical discourse.
At first view, Ho’s oeuvre of works can be seemingly preaching and discordant. However, it is worthwhile to question the origins of such experiences the work triggers. The works are composed of a collage of “ready-made” texts and symbols after all, and the experiences they prompt exist only in the presence of the viewer. In fact, Ho says that the works intend to provoke but not to sermonize; the works are unapologetically material in its production, and the human presence of the artist, apparent in the hand-painted texts and imperfect scars of white from a manual printing process, allude to a young artist, who, like all of us, feel ever so lost in the many layers of social sublime.
The “deliberate realism” may be Ho’s attempt to be humble about fine art’s purpose in this world. Openly hidden behind the facade of spray paint, clear gesso, inkjet printer ink, paint and resin, is ultimately, the living artist. In essence, Ho’s works ask the viewer to share his concerned gaze, as he wanders in and out of the institutional and constructivist curtains, we often choose to ignore. Vulnerability may not be the initial impression one has of Ho’s works, but if you were to fortunately talk to him during a visit to the exhibition, you would find that his commitment to the viewer (or, in his words, altruism) extends to a certain resolution about who he is as an individual in the contemporary social landscape.
HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT AND NOT AFRAID TO DIE is arguably an empathic communication of very human scale, and if you are challenged by his works, that’s probably a good thing.
(And if you are not, I believe it says more about you than the work.)
「HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT AND NOT AFRAID TO DIE」
|DATE||March 19 – April 23, 2022|
12:00-18:00 (Tue-Sat) ＊Closed on Sun, Mon and Public Holidays
|VENUE||Tokyo International Gallery|
TERRADA Art Complex II 2F, 1-32-8 Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, 140-0002 Japan
Access: 8 minutes’ walk from Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit Rinkai Line “Tennoz Isle Station”,
10 minutes’ walk from Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line “Tennoz Isle Station”, 8 minutes’ walk from Keikyu
Main Line “Shinbanba Station”