Sea of Faces is a unique and challenging project in which rising star Chloe Ho continues her investigation into issues of self and identity. With her remarkable insight and attention to nuance, Chloe chronicles the human state through over 70 figure drawings and paintings which form part of her vision of a ‘New Portraiture’.
Located between representation and self-reflection, Chloe seeks to understand how the ‘self’ has been constructed and interpreted throughout mankind’s collective history. Central to this is the concept of memories, which are often linked intrinsically to a ‘place’ – be it our home, particular buildings, or even our environment. In this way, Chloe Ho’s Sea of Faces equally alludes to the concept of a ‘global village’, in which the current generation seeks an understanding of their place and identity in the modern world, while there remains a sense of belonging to a distant, ancestral, but unfamiliar world.
Like any true artist, Chloe Ho is seeking her own narrative – she varies her medium and process, and shows the courage to break away from the norm to develop something fresh and new. Chloe’s collection of portrait drawings and paintings is not simply an effort to replicate reality, nor imitate the past. Instead, it searches for a truth that exists in essence, rather than in concrete form – an ideal which is reflected in her choice of medium and process: charcoal, pen, ink, acrylic, spray paint, and even coffee. There is a physicality to her process that is tangible to the viewer, and a rawness to the materials that transcends the confinements of imagery.
The works in Sea of Faces are divided into 5 series. ‘Intimacy’ is painted primarily with acrylic and Chinese ink to capture the immediacy of a single moment in time, with a strong use of medium to invoke a psychological depth. ‘Insight’ is a series of mixed media works that capture the individuality of each subject through their own personal colour or aura. The works in ‘Identity’ use Chinese ink, pen and ink, charcoal, and spray paint to depict the fluidity of the subjects’ identities – which mirrors the fluidity of all human identities. ‘Shakespeare Envisioned’ makes use of charcoal to depict the tonal plurality of the characters. Lastly in ‘Isolation’, figures are rendered in Chinese ink and charcoal using simple lines and forms, reflecting how all people live in a state of solitude at one point or another.
Chloe Ho comprehends the often conflicting position of the artist portraying others. She ‘sees’ the faces she paints, while being ‘at sea’ among them. Her ‘New Portraiture’ provides reconciliation through an incisive capturing of her subjects’ characteristics, as she invites viewers to join her on a creative journey of self and identity.