Philosophy gives way to art for Quang Ho in Steamboat retrospective |

Philosophy gives way to art for Quang Ho in Steamboat retrospective

Denver-based painter will be featured at the Steamboat Art Museum starting Friday

Nicole Inglis

Denver-based artist Quang Ho will have his work featured at the Steamboat Art Museum starting Friday until April 14. An opening reception will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.

— When Quang Ho was 11 years old, he couldn't do his homework. So instead, he drew. With art, he didn't have to battle the language barrier that came with immigrating to the United States from Vietnam just days before the fall of Saigon in 1975.

Ho said he was welcomed with kindness into his new life in Denver and never expected to return to his home country.

When he did, he saw Vietnam through the eyes of a professional painter 20 years later in 1995.

"In Vietnam, the paintings painted themselves," he said about capturing the scenes of his home country on canvas. "I knew what it was supposed to feel like; I knew what it was supposed to smell like."

About 40 of Ho's oil paintings from the past 25 years now are hanging in the Steamboat Art Museum, constituting "A Retrospective," the winter exhibit that will hang in the museum's front room through April 14.

Ho arrived in Steamboat Springs on Thursday and will be on hand for the exhibit's public opening Friday night during First Friday Artwalk, a demonstration at 10 a.m. Saturday and a fundraising dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday.

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The show lines the walls of the museum with portraits, landscapes and still lifes that portray the humanity of their subjects through abstraction and impressionistic brushstrokes.

"Nature is abstract; the idea of color is abstract," he said. "I like to find the chaos and put the order into it."

When he conceptualizes and paints, Ho tries to shut off his mind and any preconceptions of objects.

He said his way of thinking about art is more philosophical than technical. He said he's inspired by the writings of Helen Keller and imagining the deaf and blind woman opening her eyes for the first time. Without notions of language, there is just a symphony of color, shape and tone, he said.

"It's like orchestrating a piece of classical music," Ho said. "There's a reason some things are accented and some are not. There's a rhythm to it.

"What attracts me is the harmony that's there."

Curator and museum board President Shirley Stocks called the show "exciting" and "quality," and Rich Galusha, who hung the show, agreed.

"What I like is the combination of the abstract and the classical," he said.

Ho said looking at the exhibit, which features paintings from 1984 onward, is like watching his life flash before his eyes.

And it's perfect timing, he said excitedly, as he's on the verge of diving even deeper into abstraction.

"This is a wonderful way to close a chapter," he said.

For the complete December First Friday Artwalk listings, click here.

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

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