For this Front Room exhibition, Meredith Malone, Assistant Curator at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis, presents a selection of works by contemporary artist M. Ho. Ho works predominately with newspaper, specifically The New York Times, to create a dynamic body of work that takes as its point of departure the loaded relationship between word and image. Chosen in close collaboration with the artist, the works included in this exhibition represent two series of collages: Strike (2003) and Talk to Us (2008).
Strike consists of pages taken from the “A Nation at War” section published by The New York Times at the start of the war in Iraq. On each page, Ho systematically conceals all text—paragraph by paragraph, line by line, and sometimes word by word—with delicate, hand-cut pieces of colored paper and found images of plants and flowers. Pinned on the walls in a continuous band, Strike transforms the supposedly factual and objective into something overtly mediated, intensely personal, and contradictory. By disrupting the viewer’s ability to scan the headlines, Ho’s images require a more prolonged, even meditative engagement. Strike provokes us to critically examine how words and photographs function in times of war. The monochrome swatches of color simultaneously suggest severe censorship, an erasure of history, and a radical rejection of the official narratives offered by the media.
M. Ho was born in 1970 in New Haven, CT and lives and works in Athens, GA. She received her B.A. from Princeton University before doing graduate work at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pennsylvania. Her artwork has been exhibited at Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA; Track 16 Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC, among others.