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Michael Rikio Ming Hee Ho (born in 1996 in Hawaii) is an artist whose practice delves into the complexities of cultural identity, linguistic expression, and the fragmented nature of modern existence. Utilizing 3D forms, painted collage, and trompe-l'oeil-shaped canvases, Ho creates a dynamic interplay between materiality and flatness, merging digital precision with a tangible sense of humanity.

Ho’s work is deeply informed by semiotics and sociolinguistics, examining how language constructs meaning and reflects cultural identities. By incorporating text as both a visual and conceptual element, he investigates generational anxieties through dark humor and satire. Phrases such as “Hey sorry I didn’t message you back sooner. I was stuck on my back like a bug.” critique societal expectations and personal disillusionment with a touch of absurdity.

Ho’s text-based works engage with contemporary cultural and linguistic phenomena, reflecting the ephemeral and mutable nature of language in the digital age. The text often possesses a performative quality, utilizing a spoken tone that addresses the viewer directly or expresses internal thoughts, creating an intimate dialogue. This approach invites viewers to engage with the text as an active component of the artwork, fostering a dynamic interaction between the visual and linguistic elements.

The use of trompe-l'oeil-shaped canvases adds a unique dimension to Ho’s work, creating an illusion of depth and three-dimensionality. These shaped canvases disrupt the traditional rectangular format, inviting viewers to question their perceptions and reassess their material relationship with the work. The interplay between the painted image and the physical form of the canvas enhances the themes of fragmentation and disconnection prevalent in his work.

Ho’s exploration of nostalgia and escapism is evident in his painted 3D objects, where serene Hawaiian landscapes are juxtaposed with humorous and absurd phrases. This contrast highlights the tension between the desire for tranquility and the inherent absurdity of existence. His use of landscapes further investigates the multiplicity of environments and temporalities, reflecting on how technology impacts perception and representation.

Born in Hawaii, Ho’s Cantonese and Japanese American heritage plays a crucial role in his work. This cultural hybridity informs his critical examination of identity, belonging, and the challenges of navigating multiple cultural narratives.

Ho has exhibited widely, with solo shows in Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei, and participation in numerous international art fairs. He is represented by Kotaro Nukaga Gallery and has received recognition for his innovative approach to contemporary art.

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