Studio Visit with Hein Koh in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
On a rainy and drab Saturday afternoon in April, I made it to Hein Koh's studio in Greenpoint, and all that gloom quickly disappeared once I encountered her work. Primarily a sculptor, her work explores sexuality, fantasy, and feminism with a heavy surrealist streak. Koh describes her sculptures as "a balance between the beautiful and the grotesque", a well articulated response. I was enthralled by her one-eyed hearts that dangled teardrops and mesmerized by a colossal tongue that hung out of frosted red lips. Koh's colors are loud and passionate and make huge statements, which I refer to as "visually orgasmic". Her soft and sensuous sculptures come in a dazzling array of sizes, shapes and textures (using materials like glitter, vinyl, spandex and sequins). Koh play with shapes well, they tend to be curvy and round, which I find to be an ode to the female figure. A mom to young twin daughters, her children's books, movies, and toys have become a huge source of inspiration, and it comes across in the playful nature of her pieces.
Koh is fresh off Spring Break, the enfant terrible of the satellite art fairs held during Armory Week. Staged at the former Condé Nast building in Times Square, Koh, along with fellow female artists Hiba Schahbaz, Signe Pierce and Robin F. Williams shared a booth titled 'The Pursuit of It'. Curated by Nicole Grammatico and Christina Papanicolau, the space resembled a rec room of feminist delights, oozing sex, fertility and warm female energy. Koh's first solo show, 'Hein Koh: Joy and Pain', will debut May 13, 2017 at Platform Gallery in Baltimore.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LINDSAY DYE