Oscar Oiwa is a Brazilian artist of Japanese descent. Born of immigrant parents in Brazil and then living as an artist in Tokyo, London, and currently in New York, he has become, in a sense, a global refugee who has experienced and learned to see the world as a whole. Â Whether Oiwa’s paintings are inspired by the Tokyo fish market, the New York stock exchange, or the trinket street vendors in downtown SÃ£o Paulo, his large multi-paneled oil paintings of landscapes reflect the social conscience of an omnipresent global economy.
Oiwa paints in a style that is loose with a certain flare of cartoon pop infused with a dark atmosphere of an impending apocalypse. His use of contrast also affects the reading of the painting, whether it is through color, image or sentiment; each painting feels as if it is a psychological backdrop to a noir film. Like watching a disaster on television, Oiwa warmly invites us to gaze into the overpowering situations that he paints.
Inspired by current events, each painting reflects upon the aftermath of cause-and-effect political policies gone awry. Oiwa fills his film screen-sized canvases with looming war and impending destruction amongst carefully placed puffs and fields of color. For instance, the painting entitled Fire Shop is a vision of American occupation in the Middle East as well as the psychological specter of the Middle East in Middle America. Red cotton candy-like cluster bombs stretch through the middle of the canvas and connect a group of parked Humvees to a fireworks shop set up like some roadside shack along I-95. One could recognize the twisted skeleton of the world trade center deep in the middle of the canvas and use the NYC call box to phone in case of emergency. In Penguin, the slow collapse of our environment through global warming is at issue. Oiwa paints an architectural labyrinth of an artic ice shelf. As it slowly melts into the sea, penguins stand motionless as their home is on the brink of disaster.