Week No. 4. Seven Deadly Sins, Preview of a Series

These are the first five pieces in a series I will be exhibiting later this year. The Preliminary title of the show is Seven Deadly Sins: 13 Pieces. The first piece in this series was completed in 2008 and shown at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in a group show under the aegis of the Pittsburgh Society of Artists entitled Saligia: Seven Deadly Sins. I decided to return to this theme with a series of my own after seeing Jamie Wyeth’s Seven Deadly Sins paintings on cardboard using seagulls as subjects.

There have been many ways of artistically interpreting the Seven Deadly Sins identified by 4th Century Christian monks over the centuries. In his Inferno, Dante arranged Purgatory according to the spiritual transgressions of Greed, Lust, Pride, Gluttony, Wrath,  Envy, and Sloth. In the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer also mentions them in the Parson’s Tale.

I hope to complete this series with several additional interpretations of deadly sins, less spiritual in nature, based in the real world of today — that is the sins of modern class society: environmental destruction, Islamaphobia & Anti-Semitism, racism & police violence, imperialist war, homophobia, and violence against women in addition to the pieces on genocide and capitalist greed.

I’ve created these by photographing videos, either production or trailers, at a relatively slow shutter speed to capture some of the action and compositing them in layers with scenes from a second video.  Films referenced are for: Genocidal Wrath – Hotel Rwanda and Killing fields; Gluttony – Eat, Pray, Love, 9 1/2, and Tom Jones ;  Pride – Legend of the Black Scorpion and Phantom of the Opera; Capitalist Greed – The Wolf of Wall Street and Chicago;  and Lust – Last Tango in Paris and 9 1/2 Weeks.

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography, Encaustic Art, and Oil Painting He is an outstanding location photographer and painter, with an eye that can capture the soul of a Havana back street as beautifully as the sip of a hungry hummingbird, often with compelling black and white images. Jay Ressler is best known for artistic expression that lives in layers between opposites. “I like to explore boundaries,” he explains. “Boundaries between consciousness and the unconscious, between reality and imagination, between certainty and skepticism.” He does this by compositing his own photography in multiple layers to produce stunningly original, interleaved images. Using Photoshop, other image manipulation software and a variety of digital effects, he paints one photographic layer on top of another. He takes advantage of textures he's captured along with an array of processes for manipulating light, contrast, and color to tell the story. “Distorting and reinterpreting the literal 'machine moments' captured by the camera is as old as the art of photography,” he insists. Jay occasionally extends his multi-layered approach to encaustic mixed media creations. Based on ancient techniques, the process begins with cooking his own recipes of beeswax and damar resin and applying this medium between the layers of photographic images, along with various pigmented compounds and materials to add color, texture and expression. Either way, the results are riveting. The viewer is drawn into an unfolding, dreamlike scene that might be heart-warming, haunting, gritty, poignant or magical. Sometimes, within the various layers, all of the above. The award-winning photographer/artist has many dimensions himself. He studied advanced digital photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and advanced encaustic techniques with leading instructors in the field. He worked as an underground coal miner, steelworker, machinist, labor and civil rights activist, copywriter and commercial printer. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.

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