It can be difficult to see the beauty in our everyday bustle. And it can be just as hard to pick out what is unique among the crowds of seemingly anonymous and interchangeable people.
But in Stephanie Ho’s work currently on display at Bennett Galleries in Green Hills, the singular beauty of the masses is on full display.
Ho paints on large linen canvases, dotting the vast white backgrounds with innumerable individuals rendered in brightly-colored clothing. In her pieces, the rainbow hives are partaking in the same activities, skiing or golfing, for instance, but each faceless figure is somehow imbued with its own personality.
“Based mainly on photographs, sometimes Stephanie paints what she sees, and at other times she choreographs the picture,” according to the gallery. “[Apparently] floating liberally on the canvas; every single figure is carefully positioned. Just like composing a piece of music, with notations hanging across the lines, creating enchanting melodies, conversing with the spectators. “
In Sky Fall 30, dozens of Ho’s figures appear to be simply milling about in the rain as if all heading toward their own destinations with their own agendas. The scene might take place in a crowded city square if it weren’t for the apparently infinite empty white space of the canvas and the implication of thousands more umbrella holders beyond. This context, or lack thereof, seems to add to the individuality of each figure. Rather than losing them in the crowd, the viewer is drawn to identify the unique characteristics of them all.
Bennett Galleries points out that Ho’s work seems inspired by L.S. Lowry, a mid-20th century English illustrator and painter who is best known for depicting life in industrial North West England, particularly crowded scenes of near-faceless figures. However, Ho seems less interested in commenting on modern life than Lowry did, and more focused on an abstract notion of individuality or communal behavior.
Ho was born in Hong Kong and graduated from the London School of Economics. She went on to complete two postgraduate diploma courses at City and Guilds of London Art School, as well as a master’s degree in Museum and Gallery Management from London City University.
Bennett Galleries is located at 2104 Crestmoor Road in Green Hills.