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

Most Read

With the 12th edition of the itinerant European biennial opening in Palermo, what do local artists, curators and...
In the age of Brexit, why Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to return the ‘stolen’ Parthenon marbles has never been...
The museum director, who resigned last year, acted with ‘integrity’, an independent report finds
In further news: study finds US film critics overwhelmingly white and male; woman sues father over Basquiat
With the government’s push for the controversial English baccalaureate, why the arts should be an integral part of the...
From Bruce Nauman at the Schaulager to the story of a 1970s artist community in Carona at Weiss Falk, all the shows to...
Sotheby’s and Christie’s say they are dropping the practice of using female-only staff to pose for promotional...
For the annual city-wide art weekender ahead of Basel, the best shows and events to attend around town
For our second report from BB10, ahead of its public opening tomorrow, a focus on KW Institute for Contemporary Art
The curators seem set to ask, ‘how civilized is the world’s current state of affairs?’
In further news: declining UK museum visitors sees country fall in world rankings; first winner of Turner Prize,...
The Icelandic-Danish artist’s creation in Vejle, Denmark, responds to the tides and surface of the water: both artwork...
In further news: Emperor Constantine’s missing finger discovered in the Louvre; and are Van Gogh’s Sunflowers turning...
The opening of a major new exhibition by Lee Bul was delayed after one of the South Korean artist’s works caught fire
The LA-based painter’s exquisite skewing of Renaissance and biblical scenes at Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London
Lee Bul, Abortion, 1989, performance documentation. Courtesy: the artist and PKM Gallery, Seoul
In a climate of perma-outrage has live art self-censored to live entertainment?

A tribute to the iconic New York journal: a platform through which founder Andy Warhol operated as artist, hustler and...
A distinctively American artist who, along with four neighbourhood contemporaries, changed the course of US painting...
From Assemble’s marbled floor tiles to Peter Zumthor's mixed-media miniatures, Emily King reports from the main...
From Ian White's posthumous retrospective to Lloyd Corporation's film about a cryptocurrency pyramid scheme, what to...
Kimberly Bradley speaks to ‘the German’ curator on the reasons for his early exit from the Austrian institution
In further news: #MeToo flashmob at Venice Architecture Biennale; BBC historian advocates for return of British...
German museums are being pushed to diversify their canons and respond to a globalized world – but is ‘cleaning up’ the...
Sophie Fiennes’s new film Bloodlight and Bami reveals a personal side of the singer as yet unseen 
‘At last there is a communal mechanism for women to call a halt to the demeaning conventions of machismo’
The German artist has put up 18 works for sale to raise money to buy 100 homes
The novelist explored Jewish identity in the US through a lens of frustrated heterosexuality
Artist Jesse Jones, who represented Ireland at last year’s Venice Biennale, on what is at stake in Friday’s Irish...
‘I spend more time being seduced by the void … as a way of energizing my language’: poet Wayne Koestenbaum speaks about...
To experience the music of the composer, who passed away last week at the age of 69, was to hear something tense,...
In a year charged with politicized tensions, mastery of craft trumps truth-to-power commentary
In further news: women wearing rainbow badges beaten in Beijing’s 798; gallerists Georg Kargl and Richard Gray have...
‘Coping as a woman in France is a daily battle: the aggression can be subtle, and you always have to push harder to...
Toyin Ojih Odutola’s portraits of a fictional aristocratic Nigerian family push toward an expanded definition...

On View

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018

frieze magazine

June - August 2018