Christopher  K.  Ho: Regional Painting
November 18 – December 23, 2010

Opening: Thursday, November 18, 6 – 8 pm
Winkleman Gallery
621 West 27th Street, New York NY 10001
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm

Winkleman Gallery is very pleased to present Regional Painting, our second solo exhibition by New York artist Christopher K. Ho. In this richly layered show, Ho calibrates fiction, fact, and figment into a precarious universe, at the center of which is one Hirsch E.P. Rothko, an anagram of the artist’s name. The invention of and creations by this shadow artist—a performance, twelve paintings, and a memoir—deploy conceptual art against itself to liberate Ho from its self-imposed constraints, and collectively propose regional painting as a viable model for contemporary practice.

License Plate Shed (2009-10) frames the exhibition. Part endurance art, part experiment, part polemic, it consists of Ho’s yearlong sojourn in a remote mountain town in southwestern Colorado. Working and living in a 700-square foot shed covered in license plates, the artist allowed himself to become vulnerable to the region’s ideas—one might say the ideology of regionalism. The attendant suspension of criticality—both in the sense of being critical and of having art-historical knowledge—encouraged different modes of ‘critical’ to emerge.

In the twelve Untitled (2001/2010) paintings, Ho allowed himself to unselfconsciously paint. Their lack of pursuit of originality  and polemic paradoxically underscores their authenticity. Regionalism is a third term between avant-garde and rear-guard; its flank position allows for it to accidentally comment on the mainstream. Regional art proposes alternatives not by willful acts of judgment, but by alliteration of and variation on art that is proximate but not entirely accessible. Under its rubric, an artist’s relationship to his contemporaries and forbears is communal rather than competitive. That Ho felt comfortable enough to revisit painting after a ten-year hiatus is a result of regionalism’s nurture rather than an encounter with nature.

By replacing derivation—borne of lack of imagination—with emulation—a generous and generative act—Ho alleviates the ‘anxiety of influence’ and thus the need for the defensive maneuvers of conventional critique, including negation, subversion, irony, and even parafiction. This allows for other strong subjectivities in the creative process—an amplification of Ho’s longtime commitment to collaboration. Such is the case with Hirsch E.P. Rothko by Hirsch E.P. Rothko (2010), a memoir of Ho/Rothko’s Colorado sojourn ghostwritten by Inez Kruckev, who had creative latitude; Ho’s only contribution was a polemic about regionalism embedded in the narrative.

In Hirsch E.P. Rothko’s own words, from the memoir: “Regionalism is not a style, but a mode of and model for making. It not so much aims to suspend the viewer’s disbelief as it enables an artist to suspend his self-consciousness. The suspension of criticality, whether reflexive or deconstructive, opens a fictive space where a conceptual artist can be a painter, a painter a writer, a dealer a publisher….”

For more information, please contact Edward Winkleman at 212.643.3152 or