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John Tanji Koga is being honored by the Honolulu Museum of A rt as the 12th recipient of the Catharine E.B. Cox Award for Excellence in Visual Arts. The award was established in 1985 by the gran dsons of Catherine Cox and is given biennially to a former or current Hawai ’i resident. It grants the recipient a one-person exhibition at the museum. Koga’s exhibition titled Undulation: rise and fall will include rec ent paintings and sculptures that spur modernist tropes toward unexpected e nds while paying homage to such eminent Japanese-American artists as Satoru Abe\, and the late Tadashi Sato and Isamu Noguchi.

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Perhaps best kn own as a sculptor\, Koga is also a provocateur who delights in probing aspe cts of sexuality and socially uncomfortable topics that are associated with the body:  his subjects for example have included male and female genitali a\, orifices\, and human excrement.  His work alternates between irony and sincerity all at once and may be produced with improbable materials such as packing tape or beeswax\, alongside traditional media like plaster\, wood\ , and stone.  Materiality is paradoxically often contravened\, as in Koga’s monumental boulders that are sliced and stacked like loaves of bread\, or bulky volumetric masses that seem weightless\, floating on air. 

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F or Undulation: rise and fall Koga has produced a series of paintings conjuring cloudscapes and landscapes.  These images take on unmistakably c orporeal forms\, recalling the work of the late Chicago Imagist Ray Yoshida (who was born in Honolulu) and providing a sexual double entendre in the e xhibition title.  These new works also enlarge upon subjects and themes in Koga’s work based upon nature and natural forms and pay tribute to Sato who se lyrical abstraction represents a golden era of painting in Hawai’i.  By producing an exhibition of paintings\, rather than sculpture Koga also allu des to the career of Abe\, which for decades has oscillated between paintin g and sculpture. 

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With a keen awareness of the legacy of art in Haw ai’i\, particularly by Japanese American artists in Honolulu\, Koga address es sculptural concerns in his work all the while challenging the limitation s of materiality and stodgy propriety.

DTEND:20130513 DTSTAMP:20140731T054923 DTSTART:20130221 GEO:21.304039;-157.848549 LOCATION:The Honolulu Museum of Art\,900 South Beretania Street \nHonolulu\ , HI 96814 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Catharine E.B. Cox Award Exhibition / Undulation: rise and fall: Re cent Work\, John Tanji Koga UID:256628 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20130221T163000 DTSTAMP:20140731T054923 DTSTART:20130221T100000 GEO:21.304039;-157.848549 LOCATION:The Honolulu Museum of Art\,900 South Beretania Street \nHonolulu\ , HI 96814 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Catharine E.B. Cox Award Exhibition / Undulation: rise and fall: Re cent Work\, John Tanji Koga UID:256629 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR