Eunkang Koh: Absurd Narratives

Heads, 11.5 x 15 inches.

Puppets, 8 x 10.25 inches.

Samples, 7.5 x 11.25 inches

Humans as social animals and the societies that they inhabit are the main sources of motivation in my art.  I draw from the human circumstances that flourish between reality and perception. Born and raised in the Korean myth culture and adopting Buddhist philosophy, I assume that the world we are living in is not real but is an illusion that we perceive. I doubt that there is anything like truth in a concrete sense.

When we regard the physical manifestations of the world as true, they can be seductive because we see and feel them.  I see these “facts” as illusions. We are set and programmed to see certain images rather than the real. Therefore, I am creating my own reality within this context. My images are my way of seeing reality in this human world without pretense. I choose to depict our society through metaphor and satire. 

Drawing from this philosophical background, my work focuses on human in our contemporary consumerist society.  The lifestyle and thinking processes of humans are often ruled by money and capitalism. Society encourages us to foster goals to become richer so that we can consume even more. Consumption driven by endless desire triggers identity crises. Trying to fit into this consumer culture makes individuals lose the sense of their own identities and personalities.  

I use half animal and half human figures in my work.  These hybrid creatures represent a portrait of us, humans as social animals in the society that we live in. These creature hybrids express the absurdity of the human world.  They portray ironic gestures that create a mixture of humor and grotesqueness, reflecting life in our consumerist society.  The creatures are symbolic of the consumerist ideal of humans who are dimwitted and un-knowing, or who choose not to see anything beyond the ‘facts’ that they are taught.

Eunkang Koh received her B.F.A. from Hong-Ik University in Seoul, South Korea and M.F.A. from California State University, Long Beach, California.  She focuses on us as human and in our contemporary consumerist society.  The half human and half animal hybrid creatures portray absurdity of the human world. The creatures reflect the life in our consumerist society with a mixture of humor and grotesqueness. She works in various media- printmaking, bookart, drawing, and installation to address social phenomena in our contemporary consumerist society.

Eunkang has shown her devotion to art and the art making process. She has had significant solo exhibitions that include Main Gallery, The Society of Northern Alberta Print-Artists in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; and La Taller in Bilbao, Spain.  Koh also has participated national and international group exhibitions such as Centro Civico Pati Limona in Barcelona, Spain; Art Space Jungmiso in Seoul, South Korea; Mei Lun Gallery at Huan Fine Art Institute in Changsha, China; and Central Booking in New York City, New York.  Koh has been invited to artist-in-residencies including Seacourt, Bangor, Northern Ireland, Frans Masereel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium; Gualan Original Printmaking Base in Shenzhen, China; Chhaap Printmaking Studio in Baroda, India and Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California.   

Koh is Associate Professor teaching printmaking and drawing in the Art Department at the University of Nevada Reno. For more on her work, visit