Primarily using self-portraiture and narratives reminiscent of classical mythology and allegory, Shimoyama proposes a new, queer, black, male creation myth. Shimoyama seeks to re-imagine this male body as something both desirous and desirable. His paintings explore the relationship between celebration and silence in queer culture and sexuality, and set the stage for an ethereal exploration to unfold.
Possessing an otherworldly yet familiar quality, Shimoyama’s poses and imagery have a reminiscence of the canons of old masters such as Caravaggio and Goya, though they are undeniably present, with a 21st century sensibility and expression. Using the tactility of thickly poured and splattered paint, luminous sprayed stencils, effervescent black glitter, rhinestones, and sequins, Shimoyama creates silhouettes of figures that exist as wholly magical, yet universally human.
Armed with a dazzle of materials, color and imagery, there is a dream-like quality to the works echoed further by symbolic inclusions of faceless eyes, rainbow breath and twilight backdrops. The figures are both present within the paintings, yet veiled, distorted or undefined, telling a narrative of masculine yearning, self-exploration and sexual desire. Shimoyama’ portraits serve as a portal for the viewer to enter and undergo a symbiotic relationship with