The Japanese painter Asako Iwasawa grew up in Tokyo’s Akabane district, an area, even for Tokyo standards, that particularly lacks green spaces. It’s for this reason that Iwasawa eventually decided to pack up and move to the country, a decision that would go on to influence her otherworldly paintings of insects and vegetation.
After graduating from Tama Art University, Iwasawa worked at a design studio, and also tried her hand at designing kimonos. But unable to resist the call of the wild, she moved out to the countryside where she spent 10 years waking up with the sun to toil away at the soil and raise vegetables. Eventually she lost the battle against “a wild, untamable natural world” and decided to express her adoration and bewilderment towards nature through paintings.
“Nature is full of thrills and wonders,” she says. “It impresses me to no end and fuels my imagination.” But rather than merely depicting what’s in front of her eyes, Iwasawa attempts to paint what she calls “the awe inspiring power of nature.” Indeed, her paintings are like scenes from some surrealistic dream: imaginative bold colors and realism, yet somehow transcending what’s before our eyes.
Iwasawa received Honorable Mention in the 2017 Ronin | Globus Artist-in-Residence Program, for which Spoon & Tamago was a judge. The paintings will be on display in a group exhibition this summer at the Ronin Gallery in New York.