Ara Koh

Artist Statement

I speak Korean, English, and Clay. My studio practice is a form of translation. Working with clay is a vehicle for memory, honesty, reflection. I translate the invisible and the amorphous into something visible and solid. A balance between polarities; light and heavy, dense and loose, ephemeral, and concrete.

There is room for awe and even for childhood trauma, fading or relived. My sculpture encapsulates the dialogue of internal memories and external landscapes. Making is reliving fading traumatic memory as a landscape painting.

Landscape made in clay links to geologic time and metamorphosis. Questioning how architecture and landscape hold humanity, I think about my body contained in the spaces, my body as a container, and the space being contained in the larger body of humanity. Experiencing body and reasoning what that experience does is questioning self in relationship with space.

This body of work claims my position of authority; a space that is my own space. Physically imposing enough to envelop the viewer, intensity of the labor, repetitiveness, and palliative obsessiveness manifest as the understanding of the universe. It asks about my identity as an artist, a daughter, and a human in the most honest and genuine way.

-- Ara Koh


Ara Koh was born in Seoul, South Korea from a fashion designer mother, and an industrial designer father. She received her BFA in Ceramics and Glass from Hongik University, Seoul, South Korea in 2018, and was an exchange student at California State University, Long Beach in 2016. Ara graduated with an MFA in Ceramic Art at New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2020. Her works are installations claiming space. The intensity of the labor, repetitiveness, and palliative obsessiveness manifested in her sculpture brings a fresh reveal to the ageless themes of body, architecture-shelter and landscape.​ Her works had been exhibited in South Korea and in the United States. Ara received numerous awards including the Minister of Foreign Affairs Honor by the Korean government. Her works are collected by Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Daekyo Culture Foundation, Winell Corporation in Korea, and many personal collectors. Ara Koh currently lives and works in Washington DC.