A play of light and shadow draws you into many of Quang Ho’s paintings — the brilliant, watery light in a slot canyon in Arizona or the spotlighted energy of kitchen chefs working in a trendy Denver restaurant.
A diffused, glowing light gives Ho’s horse paintings an almost ethereal tone. Lighting on various nudes creates moods playful to introspective.
In fact, the use of light and shadow is so important to the artist that he focuses on it in one of three instructional DVDs he sells to students, “Painting the Still-Life Using Light and Shadow.”
Ho says he finds visual excitement all around him, as well as on the empty canvas. He recently has “gone large,” he says, with at least a dozen huge canvases tacked up at an art studio he built on a parcel of land he owns in Denver.
“I’m always going in new directions,” Ho says. “Painting to me is like a musician playing with sound.”
It’s that philosophy that has created Ho’s greatest work, says Bill Rey, owner of Claggett/Rey Gallery, in Vail Village.
Rey points to Ho’s passion for his painting, and talks about his diversity in subjects. Many artists use photographs to help them with their work, where Ho is all about the traditional inspiration, followed by brush strokes, says Rey, adding he believes Ho to be one of the greatest artists of our time.
After years of mastering the technical side, Ho says the work he does now reveals itself to him as he creates it.
“I just want to push (my current works) where they want to go,” Ho says.
A knot on a tree or the juxtaposition of a few simple shapes and colors can be a catalyst for a new piece.
“Realism and abstract — it’s all the same to me,” Ho says. “The real essence of painting is the dialogue between shapes, tones, colors, textures, edges and line. Everything else follows — including light, form, concepts personal beliefs and inspirations.”
Ho also keeps a studio at the Denver Art Students League. His three-day plein air workshop scheduled for Aug. 5-7 in the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is sold out, Rey says.
Ho was born in Vietnam and emigrated to the United States when he was 12 years old. At 16, Ho held his first one-man show at Tomorrow’s Masters Gallery in Denver, a runaway success for a high school sophomore.
When Quang’s mother was killed unexpectedly in a tragic auto accident in 1982, he was left with the responsibility of raising four younger brothers and a sister.
The same year, Ho attended the Colorado Institute of Art on a National Scholastics Art Awards scholarship. He studied under Rene Bruhin, whom he credits with developing the foundation for his work.
Ho’s clients include: the Adolph Coors Company; Upjohn; Safeway; the Colorado Symphony; and the Chicago Symphony. His illustrations have been featured in the Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibition and the Communication Arts Illustrations Annual and exhibited at the Museum of American Illustrations in Newport, Rhode Island.
— beth potter