7 -10 September 2023

The Seven Deadly Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins – sloth, wrath, greed, envy, gluttony, pride, lust – have provided fertile ground as a subject for artists since the middle-ages and continues to capture the imagination of both artists and audiences.

Richard Lewer’s take on The Seven Deadly Sins continues his predilection for autobiographical painting. For the first time, however, Lewer has also alluded to some of the most iconic artists in the historical canon – from Francisco Goya to Edouard Manet. This homage speaks to the pervasive nature of religious doctrines, which continue to linger in contemporary life as a hierarchy of improper behaviour.

Despite these references, Lewer’s visceral rendering of the seven sins are characteristically his own – with scenes acted out by familiar fleshy naked figures that are neither man nor woman, in seemingly weird and phantastic settings. Painted on brass, the works are imbued with a great luminosity that slips between abstraction and representation that speak to the temptations and pleasures inherent to the human experience.

About the new work, Lewer shares: “Globally we're facing so many extremes at the moment from the politics of the far right and left, catastrophic climate events resulting in fires and floods, an increasing disparity between the rich and poor and all this to a barrage of noise and idealization of social media. The Seven Deadly Sins is a reminder to moderate, to pause, to empathise, that we already know what is good, right and just."

Stemming from religious teachings intended to discourage immoral behaviour, Lewer’s take on The Seven Deadly Sins is carnal, gluttonous, and symbolically loaded.

This body of work was previewed at Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, Carriageworks, 2023, from 7 -10 September 2023.