Region: Pacific Coast

 Koak creates emotionally charged portraits of figures imbued with a sense of agency and inner life. Drawing on the visual vocabulary of comics, her work engages hierarchies of gender and 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 handmade master craftsmanship. The figures that Koak portrays are “not often based on specific people, but always a portal to connect the universal to the individual.” She elaborates: “My work stems from wanting to talk about the universal, or our shared external realities through an internal context. Because I think that through connecting these two things, we’re able to make the internal, or personal, universal again, while at the same time, maintaining its delicacy and nuance. The bold linework in Koak’s paintings and drawings—mirrored too in her sculptures—for her is “an homage to comics and an expression of love for its ability to communicate complex thoughts through nuanced simplicity.”