Akikazu Iwamoto during his First Solo Stux Show

Akakazu Iwamoto at his first STUX Gallery Solo Exhibition

The playful compositions of Japanese painter Akikazu Iwamoto grow more beautiful and slightly more uncomfortable the longer you look at them. If his work was simply a sensationalist play on human desires, that would be one thing. It’s Iwamoto’s sensibility for flamboyant pastels and play, intermixed with subconscious human fears and desires that gives his work true power.

In The Collector I & II, just below, playful people with lion-like heads drum and dance in what, at first glance, seems an innocent romp. A closer inspection reveals darker themes. Human bodies are transformed and disfigured in this ritual. One character actually dances on a pile of melting bodies.

“I grew up a little ways away from the Hiroshima bomb site,” explains Iwamoto through an interpreter at Stux Gallery. “I was orphaned at a young age, and remnants of the bomb were everywhere, photographs, attitudes — all burned into my memory. I had many feelings during this time. Pain, but also joy. I hope my paintings reflect all this.”

Iwamoto’s solo show work is on display at Stux – June 30, 2012 alongside painter Steven Charles