Akikazu Iwamoto’s recent works are candy-color acrylic paintings depicting a variety of hybrid figurative-geometric forms set against twilit backgrounds. The appeal of Iwamoto’s colors-on-patterns is similar to that of illustrative art and graphic design, but Iwamoto is distinguished by a uniquely personal vision that, according to the artist, revolves around his encounters with various individuals.
A habitual people-watcher since his childhood, Iwamoto memorializes friends and strangers alike. When he paints them, he thinks of their inner world. The results are far from ordinary portraits. They are a kind of psychic kingdom in habited by innocent-looking creatures and animals without the gravitas of the real world. Tigers, elephants, limbs, heads, and torsos emerge from the artist’s impressions of the spirituality, aura, and anxieties of each person he meets. Sometimes Iwamoto’s imagery references popular self-expressions of young adults, eccentric fashion and body decorations such as tattoos, chains, piercing, etc.
This exhibition also includes Iwamoto’s works on paper. Less formal than his acrylics, these works exhibit delicate colors rendered in colored pencil and watercolor. The paper he uses, made in Nepal, lends a warm texture and the subtle colors of its natural fibers to the works. As a result, a distinctive cultural flavor is added to the artist’s otherwise borderless, contemporary aesthetics.
Akikazu Iwamoto was born in Hiroshima in 1973 and studied graphic design at Tohoku College of Arts and Design, Japan. Currently based in Hiroshima, Iwamoto has been exhibiting his work in Tokyo and New York.