SEVEN DEADLY SINS SERIES
Phyllis Davidson—Artist's Statement—Seven Deadly Sins
The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
In this uncertain age when the difference between right and wrong is no longer clear, what significance does the concept of the Seven Deadly Sins have?
The old mechanism of guilt has disappeared, or lost ground when it remains at all, since Western religion, at least, no longer seeks to frighten sinners. In terms of today's morality, Faust simply lacks the psychological software to comprehend the wrong he commits until it is too late.
I regard the seven root sins (Gluttony, Vanity, Greed, Lust, Sloth, Wrath, Envy) as components of the human psyche; as character traits that might very well have been beneficial to the survival and success of our species. When those same tendencies are unconstrained and excessive, the results are negative, or simply put: "sinful".
It's been said, for instance, that from the first day of its existence forward to now, sheer greed was the driving spirit of civilization: Wealth and again wealth, and once more wealth.
GREED, (like the other six "sins"), is a constant. If we are going to indict a long line of greedy, avaricious plutocrats for the ills of society, whether financial crises or the death of the American dream, we also have to credit them with all the intervening periods of prosperity, for patronage of the arts, for the building of libraries, etc.
These are topics worthy of our attention and for this artist; the Seven Deadly Sins still fire the imagination.
Three of the paintings ["The Skeleton at the Feast", "Winner Takes All", and "School For Angels"] take place in Hell Mouth Wagons. These were 16th century pageant wagons that headed the procession of stages for Passion Plays. Similar to our modern-day floats, they would not be out of place in a Mardi Gras parade.
"School For Angels"
"Winner Takes All"
"The Skeleton at the Feast"
"Sugar and Spice" is fueled by sibling and/or teen age rivalry between young girls. As I remember, jealousy was rife during those years. Teen age angst aside, jealousy persists throughout our lives, affecting both sexes and all age groups. Jealousy frequently results in ruined or lost lives, as Othello’s flaw clearly demonstrates.
"Insatiable" takes a somewhat celebratory view of gluttony. These sins do overlap so there is some lust and greed at this party for good measure. Bon appétit!
"Burners" is inspired by the Burning Man festival, an event set in the Nevada desert. Lust decrees that clothing is optional, drugs are plentiful, and anything goes.