Wendy on the Stilt, 1998
Acrylic on canvas
47 x 43 inches (framed)
Collection of Gordon Locksley and George T. Shea
Yoshitomo Nara's cartoon-like Wendy on the Stilt creates an initial impression of youthful innocence. His style is characteristic of the Japanese Pop Art movement that emerged in the 1990s. While Nara's flat colors and sharp outlines adhere to a long tradition in Japanese art, his subject is decidedly contemporary. Wendy's oversized head and simplified body seem naive and childlike, but her scowling expression and angrily flashing eyes belie her innocence. Nara's work is both a celebration and critique of Japanese pop culture, adopting its "cute" style, while simultaneously hinting that innocence is mere fantasy. Wendy is isolated and seems frustrated with the tiresome task of playing on a stilt. This undercurrent of discontent acknowledges the complexity of modern life and allows Nara to connect with viewers who are far removed from childhood.