Anna Koak, or as we have learned to call her, KOAK (featured in our new Summer 2018 issue) is currently having a solo show, Seed For Planting, at Walden Gallery in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The large body of works, mostly on paper, were produced in the last year or so when Koak started implementing some new technical processes into her practice and composing more complex images imbued with thought-provoking symbology.
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Keeping the simplicity and character of her comics while creating multiple references (with historical nude portraiture or re-creating the aesthetic of traditional Japanese woodblock prints), the San Francisco-based artist created a strong series of harmonious images often rendered through subtle graphite mist. Everything from fabricating her own hand-dyed paper to using a wide range of techniques such as graphite, pastel, pigment, chalk, oil, casein, or acrylic ink, result in an unmistakable complexion through which the artist portrays social issues and personal, economic or emotional worries.
A large part of Seed For Planting is focused on revealing systematized inequalities through the sophisticated portrayal of heavily stylized female figures with accented attributes. Her elegant and precise line work creates a strong contrast with the soft-colored dye of decked edges rag paper used, adding to the aged appearance of her works. Depicting her subjects performing everyday errands, while placed in a timeless space with references both to classic art and modern day life, Koak’s narrative is easy to identify with and fall in love with. The artistic accent is occasionally being put on portraying facial expressions, allowing a great sense of frustration, fear, worry or sadness to conceal behind these graceful creations. Adding dimmed colors only to highlight the intimacy of the setting and the perspectives, the pinks, purples, and blues used regularly are creating a strong feeling of consistency in an already coherent and distinguishable body of work. —Sasha Bogojev
Follow Koak here: @annakoak