By Kristie L. Smith Nikitin, freelance writer & art enthusiast
Kris Gebhardt’s 45 Sins, is haunting, beckoning and endearing. Is it the call of the pouting lips and the warmth of the windows to this quiet soul? Perhaps it is the golden robe and regal head? Whatever draws the viewer in, when a title like 45 Sins is attached, the ante is definitely upped. Curiosity piqued.
Does “45” from the title stand alone? Could it mean “45 years,” or maybe it is referencing 1945? Or is it more literal? Like most, if not all of Gebhardt’s works, there is always room for interpretation. The mere mention of sin makes humans bow in shame and revert to lessons of Sunday school long passed. Certainly a frame of reference is summoned for most of us. From Romans 3:20 “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” Sin triggers a call to repent. Perchance this man has been called to ask for forgiveness.
Was there a promotion or ad campaign resulting in a gimmick to promote good over evil? Were there trading or punch cards to collect? Receive a cross-shaped indention every time you trespass, up to 45. Then what happens? Only 45 crimes — you win! Or is it 45 shortcomings and you lose? Is 45 a lot or a little in this context? Ever kept tabs by making a hash mark for each transgression?
Moving beyond the title, the man exudes nobility or success, the golden robe and head shaped like a pharaoh, suggest this man has done well for himself. Was he successful because he committed violations? Did he do someone wrong? Has he wounded, maimed, stolen, lied to get where he is? Or are his infractions less severe — stretching the truth, cutting a corner, bending a rule — because success is hard to come by honestly?
Sin is defined as an immoral act, a transgression against Divine law. They aren’t supposed to come in varying degrees, though society does view them differently. Murder and adultery are seen as less forgivable than lying, cursing or idolatry. In 2 Corinthians 7:10 Paul said that, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Is this man headed for death?
Admittedly, Gebhardt doesn’t know the answers to these questions. Like with many of his paintings, he stood in front of the canvas and started creating the background by layering paint and swirling the brush in a sweeping circular motion, waiting for the piece to tell him what to create.
Booth # 358
Mixed Media 68″ by 38″
ArtExpo New York 2017
39+ Years of Extraordinary Art – Hundreds of Artists, Thousands of New Works
This year, we’ll host over 400+ innovative exhibiting artists, galleries and publishers from across the globe, showcasing exciting original artwork, prints, paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, giclee, lithographs, glass works and more—all under one roof at Pier 94.