Letter to Myself (when the world is on fireplace), on watch by means of February 25th, is a joyous panacea for present-day woes.  

Prehensile toes and wiggly nipples are littered during the artist Koak’s next solo exhibition at Altman Siegel. Spawning from the artist’s musings on overexposure to continual, relaxed-ized disaster, the exhibit infuses levity and humor into doomy scenes. Koak’s tender figures, bodies at when sensitive and bulging, and confident and exact linework are at their height in her most current show.

As the title implies, the show serves as Koak’s letter to herself, a sort of time capsule of photographs and thoughts emblematic of the modern-day instant. The artist remarks, “We get our news interspersed with kitten videos and go from California fires to California sunsets in the span of minutes. The line concerning hazard and security, calamity and relaxed, feels unmitigated—we move as well speedily involving the two to bear in mind when to giggle or how to cry.” In this exhibition, Koak is capable to bring levity to these cyclical spurts of hyperactive get worried and sedation.

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A vein of tenderness and fragility courses through Koak’s new paintings. Photographs of drowning tulips and girls craned over to study their genitalia pull the viewer’s concentrate. A cracking vase comes up in a couple of performs in Self Portrait w/ Flowers the artist paints her very own likeness on the fractured ceramic. There is a sensation of imminence, a perception of solidity that is just about to burst. The vase, like lots of of us, is hardly keeping it jointly.

Imagery that could, in other circumstances, arrive throughout trite (as the imminent destruction of the globe can unfortunately seem to be), is reinvigorated by Koak with vibrancy and coyness. In Doomscroll we obtain these kinds of an occasion, in which two illustrations or photos line the wall to the still left of the key figure. The reduced frame holds a mushroom cloud, an explosion in an usually edenic atmosphere, and the higher one particular depicts cartoonified male genitalia. These photographs, a hilarious one-two punch, are washed about in the blue of the portray as the determine examines her possess physique with an empty stare, caresses her calf, disregarding the eye-catching options behind her. The paintings on the wall look like reminiscences she has fixated on, formative traumas in her earlier that now float around her intellect like nothing at all. She is emblematic of many of us, numb to shock, “doomscrolling.” 

The focal triptych of the exhibition fills an complete gallery wall, each individual painting an expanse of biblical significance. The 3 scenes portray a few windows lining a one external facade of a home. According to the gallery’s press launch, these paintings can be found to represent, in sequence, “inquisition, awe, and anxiety.”

Promenade is most likely the only portray in the present that gives a sense of franticness. There is an outward electricity rather than an introspection that drives the perform as the chicken loses feathers in the wind and flesh colored nipples blow in the breeze. In the nest of eggs at the proper of the canvas, we come across an impression of birth and the inquisition that comes with youth. 

In Facade, a determine having just awoken greets the yellow working day, peering out from drapes dotted with phallic floral designs. A fire burns beneath, but the shadow on the figure’s neck comes from a downwardly-shining gentle source, the implication of sunshine. The mild from the fire is intentionally eschewed in the rendering of this graphic, absent from the eyes, casting no shadow. The determine displays ambivalence as her hand droops to level towards the hell under. What may perhaps have as soon as been “awe” is only an echo of this kind of a sensation. We see listed here observance without response, acknowledgement with feigned sympathy. As Koak states, “everything begins to sense like a blend of amplified emotion with the catatonic condition of burnout blasé.”

In En Garde, the determine grasps the bars of a window like a cross repelling a vampiric power. Close to this fiery inside, the scene is solely nice — colonial moldings about a window wooded in by peonies counsel a quaint community natural environment. The crimson figure and drapes sense fiery, in distinction to Facade the place the hearth burns outdoors. This creates a kind of “the phone is coming from inside of the house” tonality underlining the scene, an apt metaphor for our existing local weather circumstance, or definitely, our existing every thing predicament. 

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Koak also flirts with texture in several of the new works. Her flat washes of shade are deceptive in creating a 2D come to feel, but a great deal of the linework essentially protrudes from the area. In these elevated strokes, there is a sandy sediment visible in the pigment, allowing for gestures with unique weights to fade into the canvas or arise out of it. It is intriguing to notice Koak’s clean, driving lines up near and discover this unforeseen crunchiness.

Potentially one particular of the most grabbing paintings in the area is California Landscape #1. The imagery is powerful and entire of movement, but it is Koak’s use of charcoal from the California fires to make the underpainting sketch for this get the job done that yields this kind of a impressive piece. Here, she bodily achieves what she seeks to do metaphorically — catastrophe coated in natural beauty, heaviness layered with levity.

She lays pigment around organic factors, therefore generating a palimpsest of coloration and dynamism above destruction. It is a cacophony of hues both purely natural and supernatural: a sea foam eco-friendly sun, a blue Seussian tree dissolving into flames, pinks and magentas abstracting the inky smoke. Koak’s foray into the landscape is a potent reminder of the harmful elegant. In the exact same way a beautiful sunset reminds a single of the pollution essential to create it, we are sucked in by the burning horizon, staring large-eyed and numb.

Koak’s “letter to herself” beautifully juxtaposes the interior and external factors of modernity the sensory and emotional factors of present as a human becoming and the unfortunate humor of being subsumed by under no circumstances-ending stress. The paintings are spectacular concoctions of shade and texture, lightness and darkness, laughing and crying. Koak’s freaky figures are a joy to behold.

Textual content by Annie Dauber

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