The Bike Room is pleased to present If and Only If – Necessary and Sufficient Works by Chinese- born, Chicago-based artist Ruyell Ho. The show offers glimpses of three projects – each a distillation of Ho’s lifelong pursuit of the language of shape.
Ho’s assiduous fabrication of abstract shapes: essential, complex, hybridized compounded and monolithic – tempt interpretation. But Ho rejects both subtexts and formalism as excuses for the strange calligraphy that invades his studio like a band of insects, populating every possible surface with chatter.
And yet Ho achieves his goal of utmost simplicity – the bare minimum. Tension arises between obsessive industry and monastic elegance creating an explosion at once effortless and dynamic. The lexicon of symbols and synapses proposes multiple arrangements – sentences, columns and paragraphs – one shape address another in dialogue. Ho challenges the viewer to refrain from translation – no easy task, since these cutouts buzz with suggestions of metaphor, cartoonishness and sexuality.
The idiosyncratic characters of If and Only If reference both peers and predecessors, evoking artists as diverse as Martin Puryear, Keith Haring, Elizabeth Murray, Matisse and Ray Yoshida, who taught Ho at SAIC, together with a generation of students who were to emerge as the Chicago Imagists.
Necessary and Sufficient are the two criteria required to prove a mathematical theorem, says Ho, who received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Ho was born in Shanghai and educated in Hong Kong before immigrating to the United States to attend college in 1955. He has exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Erie Street Gallery, The Illinois Center, The Center for Contemporary Art in Geneva, Switzerland and the Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California.