We are thrilled to share the announcement of Koak's exhibition The Drive at Perrotin in Hong Kong! The exhibition of new paintings and sculpture is Koak's first solo presentation of in Asia! The show runs May 21 through July 30, 2022.

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Image description: Koak, The Driver, 2022. Flashe and acrylic on canvas. 70 x 104 inch | 177.8 x 264.2 cm. Photo: Chris Grunder. A painting of a woman and a cat made up of all pinks and blues.
Koak, The Driver, 2022. Flashe and acrylic on canvas. 70 x 104 inch | 177.8 x 264.2 cm. Photo: Chris Grunder.

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About the Artist

Based in San Francisco, Koak creates emotionally charged portraits of figures invariably imbued with a sense of agency and inner life. Drawing on the visual vocabulary of comics, her work engages hierarchies of gender as well as form, interrogating commonly held cultural assumptions on identity and human nature. The exquisite technique for which Koak is known is expressed in beautifully effortless mark-making and demonstrates a rare type of generous and hand-made master craftsmanship.

Image description: View of Koak’s exhibition The Driver at Perrotin Hong Kong, 2022. Photo: Ringo Cheung.
View of Koak’s exhibition The Driver at Perrotin Hong Kong, 2022. Photo: Ringo Cheung.

In her essay, "Archetypes of the Self in Living Color," Apsara Di Quinzio, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Nevada Museum of Art, says:

"The expression of feeling is a signatory attribute of the paintings of Koak, and it is a force that she uses to articulate her bold, arresting style. Her canvases, saturated in mood, denote various emotive timbres through her deployment of color, line quality, spatial configuration, and gesture. The figurative subjects that populate her compositions‚ÄĒnamely feminine figures and felines‚ÄĒmoreover, are vehicles for expression and indexical devices that communicate a vast range of behaviors and emotional states. Koak has said that her paintings are‚Äúabout archetypes of self that we have that are developed throughout our life or are internalized by experience‚ÄĚ and she suggests that she is playing with, and perhaps upending, these internalized archetypes. This is especially evident in her most recent body of work produced for her exhibition in Hong Kong [at Perrotin]."

Image description  Koak, My Cage, 2021-2022. Flashe, acrylic, and graphite on linen mounted to panel. 59 x 45 1/2 inch | 149.9 x 115.6 cm. Photo: Chris Grunder. A painting of a woman looking to the left with her hand on the top of someone's head. The painting is all shades of red.
Koak, My Cage, 2021-2022. Flashe, acrylic, and graphite on linen mounted to panel. 59 x 45 1/2 inch | 149.9 x 115.6 cm. Photo: Chris Grunder.
"There was a visual that I kept in mind when starting the initial works for the show. I imagined myself in conversation with another person‚ÄĒyou for example‚ÄĒand in that context, I imagined both myself and you as a mirror and a light. When I sit and talk to you, from my perspective, I am a beam and it‚Äôs in the reflection of my beam, filtered through your mirror, that I discover who I am. In being around you, I internalize your filter of my reflection and use it in shaping who I am." -Koak

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Image description: Koak, My Teeth, 2022. Flashe, acrylic, chalk, and graphite on canvas. 59 x 45 1/2 inch | 149.9 x 115.6 cm. Photo: Chris Grunder. An all blue painting of two people twisted together standing in front of trees.
Koak, My Teeth, 2022. Flashe, acrylic, chalk, and graphite on canvas. 59 x 45 1/2 inch | 149.9 x 115.6 cm. Photo: Chris Grunder.
"I can find myself in any of the pieces. Some fragment of myself. A skewed mirror. A version that I felt once. But at the same time I can see each one entirely not as me. A fiction, a part of a friend or loved one, a stand-in for broader society, a historical trope, or an archetype reimagined." -Koak
Image description: Koak, Dark Corridor, 2021-2022. Acrylic, graphite, Flashe, and chalk on linen. 79 1/2 x 59 inch | 201.9 x 149.9 cm. Photo: Chris Grunder. A painting of a person in all red standing in front of an arched mirror. She is touching her reflection. The background in the mirror is green.
Koak, Dark Corridor, 2021-2022. Acrylic, graphite, Flashe, and chalk on linen. 79 1/2 x 59 inch | 201.9 x 149.9 cm. Photo: Chris Grunder.
Image description: Koak, Strange Loop, 2021. Ferric nitrate patina on bronze, three figures. Overall (approximate): 70 7/8 x 63 x 51 3/16 inch | 180 x 160 x 130 cm. Grumpy Cat: 37 3/8 x 28 3/8 x 52 3/4 inch | 95 x 72 x 134 cm. Happy Cat: 30 11/16 x 75 9/16 x 24 7/16 inch | 78 x 192 x 62 cm. Sleepy Cat: 70 7/8 x 23 5/8 x 43 5/16 inch | 180 x 60 x 110 cm. Photo: Ringo Cheung. Three sculptures of cats intertwined displayed in a gallery on a wood floor.
Koak, Strange Loop, 2021. Ferric nitrate patina on bronze, three figures. Overall (approximate): 70 7/8 x 63 x 51 3/16 inch | 180 x 160 x 130 cm. Grumpy Cat: 37 3/8 x 28 3/8 x 52 3/4 inch | 95 x 72 x 134 cm. Happy Cat: 30 11/16 x 75 9/16 x 24 7/16 inch | 78 x 192 x 62 cm. Sleepy Cat: 70 7/8 x 23 5/8 x 43 5/16 inch | 180 x 60 x 110 cm. Photo: Ringo Cheung. 
Image description: Koak, Safely, 2022. Flashe, acrylic and graphite on linen mounted to panel. 168.9 x 140.3 cm | 66 1/2 x 55 1/4 inch. An all green painting with a bright red sun in the middle and a blue river running through the center.
Koak, Safely, 2022. Flashe, acrylic and graphite on linen mounted to panel. 168.9 x 140.3 cm | 66 1/2 x 55 1/4 inch.

All images courtesy of the artist, Perrotin, and Altman Siegel, San Francisco.

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