When I arrived at cogean? gallery on Sunday afternoon, a bowl of bright, purple-y red plums glowing in the sun greeted me. People were scattered on the front lawn of the gallery, slurping ice cold drinks and eating BBQ'd meats and savory noodles. The grass was dry and the sun hot.

Bremerton is quiet compared to Capitol Hill—the wind moves differently around its streets. People had gathered at cogean? to celebrate the opening of Austin-based artist Dawn Okoro's latest show at the space, Punk Noir. This exhibition featured portraits by Okoro of black musicians, filmmakers, photographers and other creatives and consisted of mostly new work made especially for the gallery. The walls of which had been painted different, creamy pastel colors.

Okoro's work largely considers the erasure of black women and much of her figural work is informed by fashion photography. At first, I thought the arms and legs that seemed to splay out in front of me in her paintings—captured mid-gesture, mid-dance move—were photographs layered over paint, such was their humanity. But these figures, who were often obscured by reflective washes of copper, were composed of paint.

In an interview Okoro did with the gallery, she said that she uses copper leaf so heavily in her work because it "symbolizes energy, since it’s capable of conducting electricity. In Punk Noir, the copper leaf also speaks to black people’s contributions to punk being minimized or erased." In "Ingress," the legs in high heels seem to kick out from behind this erasure against a teal non-space.

I left the garden party with an ice cream sandwich and a sunburn.

Punk Noir will be up at cogean? gallery until September 14. If you'd like to go outside of posted hours, be sure to email!

A photo of the author at the BBQ on Sunday.
A photo of the author at the BBQ on Sunday. JK