Amanda Ross-Ho creates installations, paintings, photographs, and sculptures that examine the boundaries of presentation space, the direct and indirect products of creative expression, and the connectivity of the visual world. Conceptually linked by ideas of absence and presence, of inversions and mirroring, of translations and reversals, Ross-Ho’s exhibitions often include her signature large-scale cut-canvas paintings, altered sheetrock slabs and/or altered gallery walls, photographs of collaged arrangements on her studio walls, and fabricated objects mirrored in the photographs.
Ross-Ho’s installations also reflect art historical, formal, and sociopolitical concerns that range broadly: unearthing and arranging mass media and found imagery—from sources as diverse as EBay sales pages, family photos, magazine ads, and 1970s macramé—questioning notions of high art versus craft and decoration; exploring the dimensional tension between sculpture, painting, and photography; and exposing hierarchical modes of display. She incorporates both Conceptual strategies and personal histories into installations and collaged works that utilize personal symbols from her own image database, visual puzzles and puns, and invented imagery.
In “Project Series 40: Amanda Ross-Ho The Cheshire Cat Principle,” the artist presents a new site-specific installation referencing ideas of visibility and invisibility, the mutability and materiality of context, and temporal manipulations. The title of the exhibition, The Cheshire Cat Principle, reflects the complex and layered nature of the exhibition and Ross-Ho’s work. The title alludes to Lewis Carroll’s (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865, which featured the familiar grinning Cheshire Cat; Carroll’s 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There; and, less familiarly, a paradoxical theory within holography, mathematics, and quantum physics which describes variables within visibility.
The exhibition weaves together residue from earlier works, fictional versions of studio vignettes, and traces of works completed but not yet seen to create an environment that indexes the lifecycle of the creative process and its constant patterns of occupying and evacuating. These gestures of absence—as symbolized in cut-canvas paintings, photographs, and ghostly painting gestures on the gallery walls—are punctuated by the hyper-present physicality of an enlarged reproduction of a ghost-shaped candy dish.
The sculpture unites and signifies Ross-Ho’s fascination with inversions, translations, and visibility. She states, “I am so taken with this object because of how many layers of translation are embedded into it—a rendering of a cultural method intended to represent a spirit or lack of a body—while containing the body—turned into a different kind of container…reproducing it again, roughly body-size, adds to this litany of associations and physicalizes the distance to its origin.”
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication (designed by Dexter Sinister), which also functions as a work in the exhibition. The publication is simultaneously a past and future document, functioning as both source material and a retroactive gaze on concepts and elements at play within the exhibition. The essay by writer Angie Keefer loosely alludes to the complexity and mutability of theory and practice, and specifically discusses The Cheshire Cat Principle from Holography (2009, co-authors Holger Bech Nielson of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Ismail Zahed of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at SUNY Stony-Brook). Available free of charge, the newspaper serves as art object and artist’s book, linking the viewer directly to the artist’s project. The exhibition itself includes a framed sheetrock work that utilizes the structure of the publication as raw material.
Amanda Ross-Ho’s exhibition is the fortieth in the Pomona College Museum of Art’s Project Series, an ongoing program of focused exhibitions designed to introduce experimental art with new forms, techniques, or concepts to the Pomona College campus. The Project Series is supported in part by the Pasadena Art Alliance.