Brendan George Ko

Brendan George Ko

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Fungi XX, 2020. 
C-Print, 14x11"
Unframed, Edition of 20 

Brendan George Ko is known for his striking photography, capturing the everyday underfoot and around himself, through his innovative use of shadow and colour. Dividing his time between Hawaii and Canada, Ko makes the most of the natural world in his works. Most recently Ko was the Portfolio visual artist for the February 15 & 21 2021 issues of The New Yorker’s Saving 'The Butterfly Forest'.

In 'Fungi XX' (
2020), Ko captures a short flourish of mushrooms that have emerged from a pile of earth. We’re presented with a variety of textures: soft-seeming moss, hard rocks, soft silty earth, and the stars of the show - the fruiting bodies themselves, the fungi. These mushrooms are extensions of an unseen, underground network. Surfacing in bloom, they briefly release their spores as a means of sexual reproduction. Their thin, spindle-like stems prop up semi-translucent, slimy seeming caps in various stages of growth; some are still in the process of unfurling ahead of releasing their seed, others beginning to show signs of external withering after having performed their task, nearing the end of their brief incarnation.

Fungi appear in locales of death; it begins a process of decay in order to facilitate growth, regeneration, and in time, rebirth. Surely this view of a small patch of the outdoors acts as a breath of air and optimism in what are now, our mostly indoor lives. -Dory Smith, Special Events and Fundraising Committee Member, Gallery 44