(b. 1959)
Little Nurse 071109
signed 'Shichinohe' in English (central region); signed 'Masaru Shichinohe' in English; titled 'Little Nurse 071109' in English (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
100 x 80.5 cm. (39 3/8 x 31 5/8 in.)
Painted in 2006
Private Collection, Asia

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Felix Yip
Felix Yip

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Lot Essay

Masaru Shichinohe's complex combination of motifs and modern inventions produces surreal works where endless narratives can be created and the viewer, who is consumed by a new world. The youthful and inspired nurse in the center stares intensely at the viewer, stating her serious intentions with the slick silver gun. The aggression of the gun however is counteracted by its delicate fingering; it is lightly held as if a prized relic. As her cause is not clear, the viewer searches for an answer within the canvas, and is directed to the glowing red arm band not only for its depiction of Shichinohe's favored rabbit motif but for the artist's signature. From this small band our story of the nurse unfolds; we wonder if she is a revolutionary nurse, historical or fictional, and for whom she fights.

The historical context of the painting is ambiguous for the gun itself speaks of modernity, while the soiled nurse's uniform and the classical realistic rendition of the subject suggest an earlier time. Shichinohe's precise brushwork, composition and suggestive use of props are stylistic traits adopted from Italian Renaissance masters, employed brilliantly to bring his surrealist subject steps closer to reality. Shichinohe eases the viewer into the painting through the familiar female and graceful brushstrokes, then leaves the viewer pleasantly baffled by the obscure amalgamation of motifs to delve into a twilight zone between reality and fiction

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