A conceptual artist known for incorporating her studio activities in a theatrical, multidisciplinary practice, Los Angeles artist Amanda Ross-Ho created her latest exhibit, titled “MY PEN IS HUGE,” right in Chelsea’s Mitchell-Innes & Nash gallery. A kind of performance-cum-installation staged like an overgrown Hollywood set, the exhibition presents new paintings and new takes on the oversize objects (like giant versions of paint-spattered work gloves) that have become her signature. The show, made over the month of August, was inspired by some of the art she’s been producing on the road since losing the lease on her L.A. studio—specifically, a series of drawings on paper clock-faces. Ross-Ho, 42, spoke to Time Out about her love of playing with scale and how figure-skating influenced her art.
How did losing your studio affect your work?
It was disruption, but also an opportunity to rethink my approach. For instance, when I stumbled across these vintage paper clockfaces on eBay, I started pulling them into the way I worked while traveling. They became a way to aggregate the flow of all my note taking, eating, drinking and creating. They became the place mats stained by my daily life.
So you’re dealing with the stuff of life, so to speak. Is that new for you?
Not really. I’ve always been interested in theatricality, but I’ve also been interested in immediacy, in searching for those things that are universal but close at hand. I want to find the potential of my local surroundings.
How does that account for your taste in jumbo-size objects?
They’re good examples of what I mean. I like playing with scale, but often, the pieces are derived from things in my own life that I’ve developed a kind of intimate relationship with, even though they’re just mass-produced items.
You worked at film prop house for a while. Did that have an impact on your work?
It was an influence, but more important was my upbringing in a family of photographers. After all, using an enlarger to create photos is about manipulating scale. Also, I was a figure skater, both competitively and professionally in ice shows, where props and stagecraft play important roles.
This show includes ready-made novelty items like a giant wine glass. Is that because it’s easier to buy this stuff than have it made?
Oh, no. I wanted to acknowledge the world of those sorts of novelties, and that includes the show title, which is actually a slogan from a T-shirt. It’s a play on words that sounds like a ridiculous male boast. So I guess it’s a feminist gesture meant to undermine the false bravado that’s so prevalent right now.
Amanda Ross-Ho, “MY PEN IS HUGE” is at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 534 W 26th St (212-744-7400, miandn.com). Thu 7–Oct 14.