The Weight of Sin
The accuracy of David Robert Farmerie’s Seven Deadly Sins series led me to believe I was meeting with either a devout Catholic who would guide me to the nearest confessional or a greedy, gluttonous, sloth of a man whose understanding of the sins was based more on practice than verse. To so truthfully interpret the sins would require a lifelong understanding of and connection to each one. As it turns out, Farmerie is neither a Bible thumper nor does he bear devilish horns, but was in fact commissioned by Terri Jordan, Curator at the Customs House Museum, to visually interpret the sins for an exhibition in 2008. Four years later, the photographic series is being reworked and reintroduced into the Nashville arts community.
“To be commissioned by a museum seems like every artist’s dream, but when you sit down and think about size and limitations—let’s just say, conceptualization to production was quite a process,” says Farmerie.
The first stage was the model search. In what was a six-month process in total, Farmerie sought a unique beauty with a fiery personality, a woman who could minimize the focus on sexuality but direct the viewer to the significance of each sin. It couldn’t hurt that Jamie Nichols was six feet tall with bright red hair and milky white skin, but what made Nichols the ideal candidate was her appreciation for vision and collaborative working style. Farmerie describes Nichols as “the perfect choice in every way,” and from their first chat over coffee, the process became a collaborative partnership.
Farmerie admits his initial understanding of the seven deadly sins was minimal. He asked his father-in-law, a retired Baptist preacher, for a rundown of their relevance within the church and the preacher shrugged. Farmerie winked at me playfully saying, “So the sins are strictly Catholic. That was a good place to start.”
Farmerie describes his works: “I create my images so that they prompt viewers to enter into conversation with themselves or others.” The series is not meant to be preachy but is simply one artist’s take on the sins’ current relevance.
The Seven Deadly Sins series, which has been archived for the past
two years, is presently being reworked. Farmerie is adjusting the images through an organic process. See Farmerie’s work in Fresh Summer Art at The Arts Company, June 2 to 28.