In her fourth solo show A Stack of Black Pants at Cherry and Martin, one cannot help but sense Amanda Ross-Ho’s oeuvre as improvisational, where the works in the gallery space are subject to revision and revision. Pencil markings discreetly written at random on the walls at odd heights and angles invite the attentive viewer on a scavenger hunt. By employing the bare walls of the gallery Ross-Ho hints that her work exists beyond the margins of a canvas or found object and challenges the viewer to adopt a new way of seeing and deciphering art work. One of Ross-Ho’s marking appears next to Triangles and Teak Reams a series of teak and CNC cut acrylic triangles used for drafting. A three-dimensional drawing of a triangle with articulated points reads “sincerely, sincerely” with an “x” marking a spot on the wall. Another message appears above a silver thumb tack and declares “chop your head in half” which is also followed by an “x” perhaps to reiterate that the artist was here and may return again as she is continuing to revise her work even after it has been installed. This notion is further reinforced when confronting two pairs of worn Van’s slip on sneakers in red and white lined in alternating colors along the first wall. Lines drawn with near precision stem from the heels of the worn canvas shoes and operate like an umbilical cord connecting the gallery space to the artist. Amanda Ross-Ho, Installation view of 'A STACK OF BLACK PANTS' at Cherry and Martin Photo Credit: Robert Wedemeyer, Image Courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles
At first inspection A Stack of Black Pants seems an assemblage of disparate objects including a found staircase bolstered to the wall and consequently leading nowhere lined with six jugs of Carlo Rossi blush, a framed photograph of a taxidermy bobcat, and a teak podium of industrial grade, oversized black pants. The common thread that unifies the sculpture and found objects is Ross-Ho’s series of six large-scale paintings rendered with acrylic red paint and gesso on canvas each titled Correction, and are each assigned their own number perhaps arbitrarily or perhaps they are a part of a larger collection that is unseen. Beginning in the first gallery Correction #10 (NO_INK) consists of a series of a check marks reminiscent of a grading style that we were familiar with in elementary school, where the “c” indicated a correct answer. Longhand addition on the bottom of the canvas results in the number 60 while “-12” and “-22” loom nearby. Correct 78 (Black C) is no less precise as it consists of a pattern of lines, squiggly lines, and “x” and “o.” While the content of the Correction paintings varies from check marks to “C’s” that vary in size and number, and bold “X” s they all share a sparse quality where the emptiness of the canvas is as central to the composition as the symbols littered about the canvas. When viewing the Correction series it seems as though the artist’s own notebooks or personal calculations that may have been used in constructing the exhibit inspired the compositions.
The artist statement supplied at the entrance of Cherry and Martin not only functions to aid the viewer in gaining insight into Amanda Ross-Ho, but confirms the notion that A Stack of Black Pants is a show built upon revision and revision. Typed in black and red print, nearly the entire page of text has been crossed out by a series of black lines. While the words are crossed out, we can still read them however it is up to the viewer to determine what text to consider. The remaining text in red creates a second story within the artist statement and just as Ross-Ho invited the viewer to search for hints written in pencil on the walls, we are invited to participate in another game. If the viewer only reads the text that appears in red here is what they will find:
Amanda Ross-Ho is the lens between disparate action and articulated work. “There’s too much” flow that moves as linear narrative, analogies between images and objects.
Ross-Ho presents armatures of making, from wood and paint, to space as an intersection, graphic and based on limitations. They tend to demand careful viewers.
Demonstrating context and origins of meditation suggest universal display of exchange. Fragments amplified work as still life and are specifically mined for fertile connectivity and forces.
The show quotes direct intention of form. This aims to fracture holistic memory and present tense.
Amanda Ross-Ho, Installation view of 'A STACK OF BLACK PANTS' at Cherry and Martin Photo Credit: Robert Wedemeyer, Image Courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles
The artist’s “aim to fracture holistic memory and present tense” is bolstered by the series of Corrections as it reinforces the creative process as one that exists in the present. As painters and writers we are constantly faced with the task of editing our work, but it is through that process that the work truly develops. For this writer A Stack of Black Pants conjured images from T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” where Eliot notes “There will be time to murder and create/ And time for all the works and days of hands/ That lift and drop a question on your plate/ Time for you and time for me/And time yet for a hundred indecisions/ And for a hundred visions and revisions/ Before the taking of toast and tea.”
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