New York

Angela Ho

Freidus/Ordover

Contemporary sculpture has become a wide-open, eminently expansive activity. What has come to matter more than questions of material or technique is the artist’s ability to imbue form with feeling and create a real and most importantly a communicative object. Angelo Ho is one of the few younger figurative sculptors who can do all this and more. For the last eight years she has chosen to work in marble, and she has successfully updated this most venerable of sculptural materials into a new and relevant means of expression.

In the work here, Ho reconciles past and present with insight and imagination. References abound to sculptural traditions ranging from classical Greek, through Gothic and 19th-century academic, to various East Asian schools, particularly Indian, but the overall presence is distinctly contemporary and accessible. Beside Myself, 1983, for example, features two seated figures facing each other; their peculiar interlocked pose brings Brancusi to mind, while their curved support recalls the Baroque and rests on two severe forms reminiscent of archaic capitals. Yet even the most art-historically minded viewer might be drawn by the piece’s riveting sensuality, its contrasts in shape, texture, and color. The figures’ roundness and organic qualities contrast with the symmetrical pediment and pedestal supports; the hot reds and greens applied to the marble surfaces warm the stone and play up Ho’s sure treatment of textures. Monolith and Romanoid Man, both 1982, and Mask, 1983, similarly deal with sculpture’s traditional role of concretizing myth, while directly addressing contemporary anxieties and aspirations.

Ronny Cohen