The 7 Sins is a visual commentary on the historical seven deadly sins in a modern context by pairing each sin with a familiar cultural figure, storybook character, or fairy tale. These paintings challenge the behaviors and narratives of these familiar characters. Traditionally seen as a spiritual number, seven is closely tied to this body of work. Hidden numbers of seven are found throughout the entire series within the composition and the technical process. The birch panels are layered with multiple pours of resin to create a three-dimensional effect which plays with the idea that the sinful behaviors of these characters have multiple layers of depth and meaning. The series flips the idea of what each sin means on its head to reveal a darker agenda. The pieces depict the result of extended sinful behavior, use a combination of two characters, or tie the work to current social issues to show how human vices can still be relevant in a contemporary context.
Our obscure fascination with obesity is closely tied to the nature of our children’s programming and entertainment. It opens a door to our children becoming over-eaters and obese. Written about in books and hobbling across the television screen with a rotund belly and sticky paws, the beloved bear, Winnie the Pooh, is one of the most well-known gluttons. Suspended within layers of resin, Winnie the Pooh is trapped not only within the seven layers of the painting, Glutthoney, but within the personal torment of his honey obsession. As his growing belly juts out towards the viewer, we get a chance to see Winnie a few years down the road. Gone are the days of this cute, pudgy bear getting stuck in his den, needing his best friends Tigger or Piglet to help pull him out. Pooh is drooling, covered, and trapped in layers of honey. This Pooh will forever be a voice speaking to how we are influenced at a young age through the stories we are taught by the seemingly cute characters of our childhood.
Our vocabulary uses slurs and language that perpetuates gender inequality. The majority of these words and phrases are based on the female body and genitalia. Hi Hoe uses derogatory language to label Snow White something she is not. This painting reveals the darker side of sin; when lust goes beyond the comfort of love and desire and transforms into sexual assault and rape. Viewed through the scope of the male gaze, Snow White is turned away from her spectators as she pulls the sheets to cover her naked body and we are left in a moment of unease. The seven layers of this piece begin to speak about how language, perception, and behaviors can flip love on its head to become something truly sinful.
This Spade was caught in the Queen of Heart’s garden frantically painting the bloomed white roses. The red paint and the murderous beheading that has occurred after the Spade was caught, blurs the lines between what is really blood and what is paint. The dizzying hedge maze behind the Queen shows the disorientation that deep levels of rage cause when she commands the death sentence, “Off with their heads!” She is adorned with a human heart threaded around her neck and a knife in hand. Heads will roll if you provoke this Queen’s wrath.
Envy comes from a place of dissatisfaction and desire; we want what we don’t have. The Wicked Witch of the West covets Dorothy’s shoes as she travels about Oz trying to find her way home. Playing on the expression “having a monkey on your back,” the Wicked Witch’s experience with the sin of envy is literally a monkey perched on her shoulder, which displays the burden of her envious feelings. While she grasps the crystal ball revealing her desire for Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the Witch has begun to transform. From the nose up, she is wicked; from the nose down, she is slowly beginning to personify qualities she craves.
Mike Teavee, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is the most well-known for slothfully watching television. During an interview with the press about finding his golden ticket, Mike’s mother explained that he has never eaten dinner at the kitchen table because he eats his meals in front of the TV. As we get to know this character, we discover his deep passion for violent programming, including gangster and cowboy-themed shows. During his interview, he explains that killing is what life is all about. With the rise in police shootings, gun violence, and social protests within our communities, this little boy demonstrates that lethargic parenting can unknowingly teach children violent behavior.
Modern-day celebrity Kim Kardashian, combined with the classic Barbie doll, is caught taking a selfie in the mirror of her bathroom vanity. Both figures display elements of excessive pride in appearance and achievements while doing little to respect their surroundings and behaviors. This neon-colored painting plays on the unnatural colors often seen in children’s toys to question the idea of what is real and what is false. This painting shows a “before and after” snapshot of what happens when pride becomes an addiction. While we get a view into a perfect selfie, large round white light bulbs literally shine a light on the sin of vanity.
Rich Uncle Penny Bags from the popular game Monopoly, has “trumped” all of his opponents and scorched his alliances. Perceived enemies are now simple game piece tokens tossed in a wheelbarrow. Clutching his last few possessions and asking for a free handout, we get a window into the destruction his voracity has caused the democracy. The houses and hotels in the background are decrepit as the nation has completely fallen apart. This work shows what can happen when the rise and fall of fraudulent leaders crumbles our perception of power.