L Koo is a contemporary artist whose work explores the relationships of light/lightness, the manifestations of spaces made external, and the weight found between places. Raised in Northern California, she is heavily influenced by the quality of light found in that region, and it is light which is the predominant driving factor in her work. Primarily working as an installation based artist, she constructs deceptively simple pieces from elements of photography, paper and porcelain, amongst others, which reside around issues of time, repetition, and fragility. She earned her MFA (2019) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago [Chicago, Il] and her BFA (2015) from Cornish College [Seattle, Wa].



2019 MFA in Sculpture (May 2019)/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

2015 BFA in Fine Art/Cornish College of the Arts/Seattle, Wa

2012 AA in Visual Communications/Fashion Inst. of Design + Merchandising/Los Angeles, Ca

Solo Exhibitions

2018 to drown/New Media Gallery @ Jack Straw Cultural Center/Seattle, Wa (June-July 2018)

2016 Finifugal/Glass Box Gallery/Seattle, Wa (May 2016)

Group Exhibitions

2019 Moving Image 00:06 festival/dfbrl8tr/Chicago, Il (October 2019)

2019 Messier Objects/062 Gallery/Chicago, Il (June 2019)

2019 SAIC MFA Show/Sullivan Galleries/Chicago, Il (April-May 2019)

2018 Manatee (curated by Nancy Shaver + Meg Duguid)/Tiger Strikes Asteroid/Chicago, Il (March 2018)

2017 Folding Reverberation::Unfolding Resonance (curated by Chelsea Rodino & Qoqo Maria)/Generations/Seattle, Wa (January 2017)

2016 Out Of Sight (curated by Julia Fryett, Greg Lundgren, Minh Nguyen, Beth Sellars, Molly Sides & Sierra Stinson)/King Street Station/Seattle, Wa (August 2016)

2015 Selected Work: Cornish Art Alumni/Hutch Cancer Research Center/Seattle, Wa (September 2015-May 2016)

2015 EXPO 2015: BFA Thesis Show/Cornish College of the Arts/Seattle, Wa (May 2015)


2018 Graduate Dean Professional Development Award/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

2018 SITE Galleries Exhibition proposal finalist/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

2018 International Sculpture Center (ISC) Outstanding Student Award nominee/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

2017 New Media Grant & Residency Program/Jack Straw Cultural Center/Seattle, Wa

Professional Experience

2019 Teaching Assistant: Core Studio II/Contemporary Practices Department/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

Professors: Hương Ngô, Laura Davis

2019 Teaching Assistant: Exploratory Media/Photo Department/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

Professor: Jonas Becker

2018 Graduate lecture: a case for slowness/Sculpture Dialogues/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

Guest artist: Anna Kunz

2018 Artist lecture: hold/held/Jack Straw Cultural Center/Seattle, Wa (July 2018)

2018 Graduate lecture: tangibilities of the non palpable/Sculpture Dialogues/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/ Chicago, Il

Guest artist: Gordon Hall

2018 Teaching Assistant: Installation Art/Sculpture Department/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

Professor: Sarah Ross

2018 Teaching Assistant: Structuring/Sequencing/Series/Photo Department/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

Professor: Aimée Beaubien

2018 Digital Fabrication Lab Studio Monitor/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

2018 Teaching Assistant: Twist & Rout/Sculpture Department/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

Professor: Paul Martin

2017-18 Sculpture Gallery Coordinator/Sculpture Department/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

2017 Teaching Assistant: Intro to Photographic Image Making/Photo Department/School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Chicago, Il

Professor: Jaclyn Wright

2017 Photo Media Lab Technician/Cornish College of the Arts/ Seattle, Wa

2015-16 Photo Editor & Green Screener/Yuen Lui Photography Studio/Seattle, Wa

2015 Artist Assistant/Robert Rhee/Seattle, Wa

2011 Gallery Assistant/Merry Karnowsky Gallery/Los Angeles, Ca


Keene, Alyssa. “L Koo Gallery Interview.” Artist of the Week, August 2018. Podcast.

“to drown.” Jack Straw New Media Gallery archives. August 2018.

Q+A with Glass Box

Describe your exhibition at Glass Box and your process behind the works in the show. How did you prepare for the show? What did the final product mean to you?

The name of the show, finifugal, is this kind of archaic word which basically means a fear of things ending. This is kind of where I was at, but also, there’s this moment that happens in films and music and sometimes in life where you reach this high point of anticipation, right before you get over this hill and onto the other side, when that promise is effectively delivered, and it’s over. But that moment, right before you go over the top, I find really interesting and if you could somehow prolong that, and never reach the other side—well, I don’t know.

To be honest, I don’t think I’m far away enough from the show, or far enough along in my history of making and showing to really understand what what any of it meant to me. Other than, I have a long way to go and a lot of work to do.

In what ways, if at all, did the physical location and spatial context of Glass Box Gallery influence your work and the show as a whole?

Quite a lot. I’ve found that my presentation structures are becoming increasingly integral to the pieces themselves, in terms of both addressing the space in which they are being presented, but also for creating a context for the pieces to exist in.

With Glass Box, I specifically wanted to address the

framing that happens in the stairwell, and the light coming through the wall of windows. It was also important to me for the pieces to address each other—so you have a repetition or stacking of lines carried throughout all of the pieces. But also a kind of emptiness and space around each one.

How have both your practice and areas of interest continued and/or changed since your exhibition at Glass Box?

Doing the show at Glass Box was kind of scary for me, because it was the first time I had shown outside of school and since my BFA show. And I felt that my work was changing a lot, both conceptually and in terms of presentation. But I got to this point where I realized that I was still making work about the same things I always had, it was just that I was thinking about them in a different way, from a different angle.

What kinds of experiences or influences brought you to the materials/mediums of art that you work with?

Ohhh, many things. It depends how long you want this to go on for. I suppose the easy answer is just: life. But I guess I’m particularly influenced by my own personal past, and also the light in Northern California, where I grew up. For me, light is almost something that is not considered, because it’s just there. But it’s also in many ways, the only thing that the work is about. I think the best way that I can equate it is in the way a painter uses paint.

For me, I always want the light to be the most solid feeling thing in the room. Everything else, I want to have a sense of fragility and like it could fall apart at amy moment, and disappear into the walls and floor of the room. I work a lot with paper and porcelain, but creating that feeling of precariousness is more important than what medium I’m using.

What are you looking forward to in regards to your practice/career and/or just in general?

Hopefully, being able to continue to show work and eventually do larger, more involved installations. And maybe grad school at some point, hopefully. Finding ways to be less afraid and more generous in ways that allow people to ‘access’ my work more, on an emotional level.

I remember having this conversation with Weston (Glass Box owner/curator) at one point, and he brought up this point about honesty, I think, and how most people would tend to steer away from that. And I remember saying something along the lines of, well this is all I know how to do, I can’t not be honest, I wouldn’t be able to make work if I didn’t make it about myself. Which is quite frightening, because on one hand, putting art out into the world is sort of my way of shouting at it. But it’s also very closed off and sort of becomes this wall to hide behind. Which of course doesn’t work, trying to hide behind the thing you’re trying to hide—something at some point has to give. Otherwise you’d just be running around in circles forever.

Who are you in addition to being an artist?

I don’t know if I’ve quite figured that out yet. Give me another 10 years.

If you couldn’t practice art, what would you be doing instead? 

Gardening. Rock climbing? Stand up comedian. I don’t know, I’m just deflecting at this point. I can be quite funny though, you know. When I’m not trying.

What do you hope that viewers will take away from your work, if anything at all? 

That they’ve lost time, but not wasted it.

Using Format