Michael Ho

Michael Ho - HIGH ART
Twilight suffuses Michael Ho’s paintings, as if they are set in a haze of memory.

Subjecting imagery from a wide range of cultural references – including books, films, photographs, and highly-charged cultural artefacts – to his unique painterly process, he makes it feel personal: not just the artist’s, but our own. Ho studied at London’s Architectural Association and began painting during the Covid-19 pandemic, where a fortuitous accident with unprimed canvas led him to refine his singular approach. He begins by pushing paint through the back of an unprimed canvas in abstract patterns, which often resemble rustling leaves or writhing microorganisms. These harden to a dense yet visually unstable ground. Once the canvas is reversed, these forms act as a kind of stencil, occluding figures which the artist renders onto the front of the painting in oils applied by hand. Each work is both a positive and negative, a recto and verso, a composite of solids and stains.

Ho, who grew up in Germany and is of Chinese descent, thus delicately fuses the aesthetics of classical Chinese ink paintings and works from the pre-modern European canon. His subject matter, too, often engages with the blurry contours of identity. Objects or gestures associated with Asian diasporic and queer-coded subjects, like the silent film villain Dr. Fu Manchu or the cult American filmmaker Gregg Araki, float dream-like in his mirror world. Many of them appear touched by the glow of the moon or seen through a pair of eyes adjusting to the dark. Identity is often a matter of smoke and mirrors, and the many moments of pleasure that Ho subtly captures in his work – from intimacy or introspection – are always foregrounded by their evanescence.

Michael Ho was born in 1991 in Arnhem, Netherlands. He lives and works in London, United Kingdom. Recent solo exhibitions include: High Art, Paris, France; Gallery Vacancy, Shanghai, China; V.O. Curations, London, United Kingdom. Recent group exhibitions include: Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, United Kingdom; Grimm Gallery, New York, USA; White Cube, Hong Kong, China; Blum & Poe, Tokyo, Japan; Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, United Kingdom; ICA, London, United Kingdom.





Curriculum Vitæ

Michael Ho - HIGH ART
B. 1991 in Arnhem, Netherlands
Lives and works in London, England


As Feelings Burn Their Way, High Art, Paris, France
Grotto Heavens, Gallery Vacancy, Shanghai, China
Kūnlún, V.O Curations, London, United Kingdom


Embodied Forms: New figurative painting, Thaddeus Ropac, London, United Kingdom (forthcoming)
Hollow Earth, Hayward Touring Exhibition, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, United Kingdom
The Moon and I, Grimm Gallery, New York, USA
New Moroism, White Cube, Hong Kong, China
Michael Ho, Su Yu-Xin, Hiroka Yamashita, Blum & Poe, Tokyo, Japan
Did you eat today?, Lothringer Halle 13, Munich, Germany
The Voices of A Tempest, Gallery 31 Somerset House, London, United Kingdom
Hollow Earth, Hayward Touring Exhibition, Nottingham Contemporary, United Kingdom
Soy Dreams of Milk, Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The Nixon Collection, Vortex, Venice, Italy
Virile, The House of St. Barnabas, London, United Kingdom
Current Transmissions, ICA, London, United Kingdom
Self-Dismiss, Gallery Vacancy, Shanghai, China
SALON, Guts Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Lo otro maravilloso, Intersticio, Madrid, Spain
Circa x Dazed Class of 2021, Piccadilly Lights, London, United Kingdom
Nature/Nurture, Aora, Online
Intra-Action, Soft Opening, London, United Kingdom
Open Call 2020, Delphian Gallery, London, United Kingdom