Saturday, March 31, 2012




Friday, March 30, 2012


The time is nigh.

For the first time ever I'll be flying solo, Angell Gallery is presenting my first solo exhibition this Saturday, March 31st.  The exhibition is a collection of three years of my investigation into atmospheres which first started with Nocturne (2009 - 2010), followed by The Barking Wall (2010 - 2012) (which makes up the bulk of the exhibition), and most recently, We Soon Be Nigh! (2011- ).  There will be a total of eight pieces with one being an installation piece that will be particularly special for the opening...

The exhibition is entitled, Atmospheres, which sounds unoriginal but all too fitting because that is what it is allllll about.  The opening reception is March 31st 1-4pm at Angell Gallery (12 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON) and the exhibition runs until April 28th.  For more info, click here.

I'd like to thank Qian Ma for his insight statement for the exhibition (below).

Dreams, imaginations and memories from long ago. What they have in common is that, while they are all so very visual in their presentation, we can't actually see them with our eyes. They are merely formless mental sensations, synapses firing in our brains. However, that's not to say we can't actually "see" them. In fact, sometimes we probably see them better than anything that's in front of our eyes. What we "see" without our eyes is consciousness in its rawest state, stripped of layers of distractions and no longer needing interpretations. Fear, joy, anger, hope and love—emotions are often not seen by eyes. 

Sometimes, the lines become blurry—you see something so clearly and vividly, for so long, that you no longer know if it was once real, if you've actually seen it or if you just wished it were real. You never quite know what will trigger something to appear in your head—a gleaming ray of light that catches your eye, a sudden scent that surrounds you, the feel of the air at a certain temperature and density on your skin, tunes that pour out of a car that sits idle at an intersection... In his series Atmospheres, which consists of three bodies of work (Nocturne, The Barking Wall and We Soon Be Nigh), Brendan George Ko sets out to document and research in the realm of consciousness, memories and imagery.

From The Barking Wall's possessed eeriness, to the mystery of Nocturne, to the doom that looms in We Soon Be Nigh, the notion of fear, of being afraid and haunted, is present throughout Atmospheres. When you are a little kid, your biggest fear is the bogeyman. As you get older, you are afraid of more real things, something that can actually hurt you. When you grow up and turn into an adult, your worst fear becomes less immediate, it becomes a deep, profound concern or worry of some sort. This progression of fear is reflected in Atmospheres, which, though not a trilogy, mirrors the progression of Brendan's own consciousness. Brendan's fascination, and to some extent, obsession with dreams and memories has more to do with being connected to his emotions than nostalgia. His desire to dig into and then reproduce the imagery in his head is an admirable attempt to turn the intangible into tangible, and beyond that, to examination and analyze his own unrealized spiritual and intellectual capacities.

Within the images of Atmospheres lies a unified visual quality: there's nothing dreamy—sharp, in focus and unclouded. The images are as clear as they can be, some of them glamorous even, but without being loud and shouting. In the background there's always a whisper that lingers, just enough to give you goosebumps. Parallels can be drawn between the cinematic Atmospheres and the late master Akira Kurosawa's last film, Dreams, in that not only both artists based their works (eight short films in Dreams) on real life experiences (actual dreams in Kurosawa's case), but they both also feature bold colors and gorgeous pictures to illustrate something that is gloomy in theory. 

Hope to see you at "The Gathering" this Saturday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Put down this mask, take off this shirt, and breath (lifting the rock from your chest with the strength you never realized you had until now).

I want to stop all this cursing I've been doing lately.  I have been driven insane for small measurements of time and I feel wild and released.  I may have made myself into an animal, something that turns disgust in the minds of those who catch me during the trance.  And I apology if I turned your stomach sour, if there was anything that made you feel robbed of good, good feeling.  I had to get something off my chest, like a white shirt that collects the dirt of the world, I needed to clean myself but licking off the dirt like a cat, like a dog, and I sure did bark.

When I come here I am tired, I am burnt out, and it is only a feeling (or at least I keep telling myself).  And as I point my little finger my biggest finger towards you, yes, you, I know you are listening, I know I can speak, here, right now, so I'm going to speak if that's alright with you (you can always just stop here).

When tapes were tapes.  My hair was shorter than, my arms and legs skinnier and my clothes baggier.  I rolled on four, I had a stereo in my backpack and I was jamming Wu-Tang on the bus ride home.  The kids looked at me, I stuck out of the crowd easy, not just for my color of my skin but the bizarreness I carried so naturally.  I wasn't original I wasn't unique, I just had something that wasn't there, always missing and not necessarily mysterious just incomplete.  And as I looked out the window to a boring, beautiful, and majestic New Mexican landscape, filled with hills dotted with shrubs and carved by neighborhoods and parks I imagined the now.  Where I would be when I grew into the person I am today.  And did I have an inkling of an idea of what would come.  Perhaps that doesn't matter, about who I would be, if I become something "better", evolved, or understanding, to have this career to have this respect.  What mattered was the thought, the curiosity behind the question, that has remained.  What will be of me in years to come, will I be asking this exact question then?  What adventures, what loves, what broken bones and embarrassing and amazing stories will I have gained then?  More run-in with the cops, what drugs will I have discovered, what about the people, at the end of the day, the people, will I have encountered, experienced.  How strong will the connections be, with this person, with that person, and how will they turn my heart, my mind, my EVERYTHING, and change me, or discover something that has either been hidden or lost for oh-so-long.

I've been running with the idea of meeting people.  The topic, "New People", but this can also apply to people of my past as well.  For now let's run with this example, new people entering your life, by chance encounter or by shared mutuality, and talking to them excessively, sharing just about everything.  The idea of blindly, no no, faithfully trusting them without the word of "TRUST" in there, but just giving yourself to them, as they give you their whole life story.  And by "giving yourself" I mean to reveal your history, of who you are in stories and provoking a certain feeling.  For each and every "New Person" to provide you with something, to turn this gear out of many in your mind and for there to be a birth of something, either a feeling, a thought, or strengthen something previously made and left in a sustained state. And in return to give something back, for the gain to be mutual, and though I feel I have only the slightly notion of what someone has gained from talking to me, from being my friend, or by reading my words and seeing my images, what I gained from them is something profound, something that is the everything that I call my essence.

I like the concept of the blank slate, that if one were to put a newborn into a blank room and provide it with nutrition and waste-disposal would that being have a thought in its head?  Without influence, without the "outside" world, that external and out-of-this oneness of self, would we ever form our own thoughts?  And to continue with that idea, with the early humans, what was going on in their minds, what of the lone hunter/gather with only the landscape to communicate with, what was he or she thinking when looking out from their cave, wrapped in the lion cloth, and spear in hand.  Perhaps the world around us, whether filled with sentient beings or not is able to provide us with insight, with the drive that turned the gear within our minds and to gave birth to the thought and awareness of self, and most importantly, the world around us.

The bus rolls up, I can see my house, that place on the cusp of "Snob Hill", what is 1136, the number 11 continuing in so many of the houses I've lived in, and the 36 as in 36 Chambers, a title of album by Wu-Tang.  The broad driveway, the small island of bushes between the driveway and the road, how a car once crashed into it and drove off, saying, "We'll fix it", and how they still haven't, but there is still the possibility of that happening (one day in absurdity).  I remember the gap in the sideway between our property and the neighbors, and how many times I walked, ollied, and tripped, and fell as a result of that gap filled with stones.  I remember the day our neighbors kids, the three of them, one named, Carl, told us that our house was haunted.  Thank God we were moving from that place I remember thinking, not another year of living in that house, with that barking wall.  And the day we moved, when I said, "Smell ya later" in my head and how I didn't realize at the time that I was saying goodbye to my childhood, to the mystery and awe that surrounded it, and most importantly the feeling of being spooked.  Good bye spooky, good bye fried bread, and monumental sadness upon sadness, you were the sadness place of my existence and the most rememberable.  Goodbye mystery, with the magic bean van turned DYI RV and a UHaul truck with the shittiest radio and holding my pee for hours and hours, we have yet to see each other again (outside of dreams and distant memories).

We'll meet again (in a threatening voice and a roll of the fist and a smile on the face).

Conveyor: "Atmospheres" reviewed by Aubrey Hays

Exhibitions have become a funny thing for me, where it has become less about the work and more about the people surrounding it, making it happen but also supporting it.  The sort of behind the scenes, just like hearing an artist talk not about the image but the story behind it, that personal flavor, that something you can't get from just looking at art, but from forming a connection with the artist through oral tradition.

I'll be officially posting information on my next exhibition, which is my first solo show, later, but I wanted to mention the word, "Gathering".  It isn't necessarily an exhibition but rather a gathering for me.  The people that have become attached to it, whether from the hardworking folks at Angell Gallery, or Qian Ma who wrote the statement for the exhibition, to the friends and strangers that will be there to see the work.  It is overwhelming to know how many people are involved and appreciate what you are doing, and there comes a point where the art, the original reason why all this is happening isn't the point anymore, it is the people involved.

A wonderful artist that holds many parallels with myself has taken the time to write a review of the themes and images of the exhibition, "Atmospheres".  And I wanted to express the honor to catch the attention of such a talented and full-of-heart artist, Aubrey Hays, who writes for Conveyor's blog.

The connections that have been made through this medium of self-expression have been the most awarding function to making art, and has become the point of it all.  And even though my feet are very much in the same place, I feel like I've travelled all over the place, meeting such wonderful people, time after again, forming connection after connection and finding myself at home, where home is, the faces that matter have made it home.

The Interview click here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


(Snap! Preview at Edward Day Gallery, 2012)

(I'm Not There Yet., from Reminiscence, 2010)

If you're in Toronto this Sunday, and you feel like buying some art for a cause, the Magenta Foundation and ACT are having their annual auction, Snap! at the National Ballet School (400 Jarvis) 6-11pm. The auction raises money for ACT (AIDS Committee of Toronto). This is my second time donating to the auction, and this time around I have a full-scale and editioned print for the auction this year (image above), or here.

For more information on the auction, click here.
For more information on ACT, click here.

(Alternates, 2012)

I'll be back soon. For now here's the entire shoot I did at the World Trade Center site earlier this month for We Soon Be Nigh!. The final image can be seen in its sequence here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


(Aquarius, as a framed 11x11" archival pigment print, from The Barking Wall, 2011)

You can now get a piece of me to take home (not that that wasn't an option before, but you can now take home a piece of work by me). All kinds of sizes available from the small guys (8x10) to the big poppas (30x40). In association with being a "Hot Shot" for the Hey! Hot Shot exhibition at Jen Bekman's, my work in 20x200 is now available. Click here, or here, or even here.

And here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hey! Hot Shot

Tomorrow, at Jen Bekman Gallery (6 Spring St., New York, NY), is the launch of the Hey! Hot Shots exhibition, and yours truly will be participating in the show. I'm really excited for this show, I won't lie, it's a big deal for me. So if you're in New York over the month come out and check it out, man.
In addition, I did this interview for their blog, in which I talk about Poltergeist, New Mexico, David Hoffos making me feel like a young boy again, and the future projects (or what I like to call, "pjs"). Here's the interview.

March 9th (reception 6-8pm) - March 25th, 2012.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Time To Get Salty In Portland, Maine

Just a quick note here. The Flash Forward 2011 touring exhibition will be stopping off in Portland, Maine, at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. The reception is tomorrow (March 2nd), 5-8pm. And will run for three days.

The Salt Institute is located on 561 Congress St.