The Place 229
229 E 49th St New York NY 10017
September 6 - September 28
Thursday - Sunday 12-6 PM
opening reception
September 13 Saturday 5-8 PM

A solo exhibition of new works by Japan-born painter Kotatsu Iwata will be on display at The Place 229 (229 East 49th Street New York, NY 10017) from September 6 through 28.

Kotatsu Iwata was born in Osaka, Japan and currently lives in New York. He has held numerous solo exhibitions including the Tezukayama Gallery, Osaka (2009, 2012); and participated in art fairs including the Art Fair Tokyo, Tokyo (2012-14); New City Art Fair, New York (2014). His activities have become significantly noticeable in recent years.

Iwata has been painting in his studio space at The Place 229 since 2012. This exhibition will consist of the body of work he has created there in the past two years.

Iwata is influenced by Pop Artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol whose works reflected the social situation of 50’s and 60’s. In step with his influences, Iwata incorporates what he considers the significant essence of our current age, the diversification in the perception of the world. He explains that in this contemporary time, amongst so many simultaneous occurrences, people’s attentions and interpretations depend on how individuals may try to bring meaning to their lives.

One of the ground-breaking characteristics of Pop Art was the appropriation of advertisements and commercial photography as imagery. In “A Woman with Gray Hair” and “Supermarket” Iwata’s images are also inspired by advertisements. His technique, which is prevalent throughout his work, involves the enlargement of drawings and layering of colors using alkaline paint. The end product looks nothing like the slick digitally processed original advertisements. Also, Iwata’s painted words do not convey any kind of a message. They are instead the catch phrase of the advertising itself or simply the price of the reimaged product. In other words, an independent world separate from reality is created inorganically through his use of advertisements as a motif to conceals his thought, while on the other hand his drawings organically and forcefully reveals his individuality.

“Softcream Girl” and “Bananas” differ somewhat from the two works described above due to the incorporation of silkscreen. Iwata does not refute the influence of Warhol and Tadanori Yokoo, but also credits the influence of manga. Often in the finishing touches of manga, various patterns are screentoned to fill space where depiction is difficult, and Iwata aims to do the same. In these two works, much like the other two, drawing is applied organically, the silkscreen inorganically, and their convergence attempts to create a distinctive context.

Iwata places the antithetical organic and inorganic expressions to coexist in the other works in his show as well. While portraying objects from daily life in an exercise of objectivity, diverse interpretation that parts ways from the artist’s intent becomes possible.