The Comeback of Koga
A one-night only pop-up art benefit / Sculptor John Koga curates and promotes some of the most innovative art shows in neighborhood galleries and garages. The man’s skilled in transforming spaces into art ecosystems, with artists, pieces, buyers, collectors, charities, local and national celebrities all in attendance, all in an effort to bring different communities together to form a larger network. He’s at it again, this time turning the Morning Glass cafe space in Manoa into a one-night-only art pop-up event, featuring four paintings by Peter Shepard Cole. The works, called the Totem Paintings, fuse what Cole calls “painterly realism” in the European tradition, muted colors and a subdued ambiance with the sardonic idealism that is a trademark of a Cole piece. Initially, the paintings here look like still lifes with sea creatures, but a longer look reveals something else entirely. For example, “Totem 3”, Cole explains, is more than a picture of beach finds. “It’s sort of a deconstructed spray bottle top. It’s hard to recognize, because it’s broken up, there’s coral growing on it and a bird bone on top. It represents something that a culture might be worshipping.” Fifty percent of the sales from Friday’s event will go to the Plastic Free Hawaii project of Kim and Jack Johnson’s Kokua Foundation; donating is an important element of a Koga pop-up. “There’s always going to be a fundraising aspect, because that’s what I want to feature; art is about the community, first,” Koga says.