Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Toys of the St. Urchin

Inspired by comic art, Wiley often uses words and symbols within his works to challenge the viewer. In this drawing, phases written in the margins allude to the real social problem of nurturing children on urban crime-ridden streets. Near the center of the image, a small waving youth is perched perilously on the edge of a roof, while a vulture swoops down from over a justice building. The shabby, gray cityscape—distorted by multiple perspectives—appears in contrast to the light-filled music room below the youth and the child-like drawing in the upper right corner. By offering positive “toys” for the street urchin, Wiley points out an alternative to drugs and crime (as symbolized by the light and shadow of the black and white square).

William T. Wiley
American, born 1937
Toys of the St. Urchin
Watercolor, black ink, red ink, blue ink, brown ink and graphite on paper
Image: 17 ¾ x 26 in. (45.1 x 66.0 cm); sheet: 21 ¾ x 29 ¾ in. (55.2 x 75.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 79.36

Large image not available.