The human form, one of the most universal and profound subjects of art, is the vehicle for artist Robert Cremean’s investigations into life and humanity, which address issues such as genocide, war, aging, identity, economic turmoil, life and death with equal parts honesty, directness, and elegance. ROBERT CREMEAN: THE BEDS OF PROCRUSTES and THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS uses this figurative imagery as well as the artist’s highly personal aesthetic language to examine the enforcement of cultural conformity through myth and metaphor, communicating his own spiritual struggles and fundamental truths in a strikingly universal way.

In this exhibition, Cremean’s ongoing artistic dialogue on the ordering of social control unfolds in large-scale sculptural installations, which embody the exacting craftsmanship that is the hallmark of the artist’s oeuvre. The artist reflects on Procrustes, who according to Greek mythology was a robber-innkeeper on the sacred road between Athens and Eleusis. At his inn, he offered an iron bed to all passers-by, advertising it as the perfect fit for all who slept in it. However, Procrustes achieved this “perfect” fit by stretching or amputating his guests’ legs until they precisely conformed to the bed. In the second series, THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS, Cremean uniquely interprets each sin through the human form, embodying the manifestation of the particular sin; for example in the panel INVIDIA (Envy) the human body is submerged in freezing water and the artist’s writings on the panel concludes with “Submerged in suffocating envy, I am frozen in self-pity.” The theme of the violent enforcement of cultural conformity in these series— cutting, trimming, and stretching to fit, and the codification of human transgressions— is in constant conflict with the singular nature of the artist’s desire for truth and escape from illusions.

ROBERT CREMEAN: THE BEDS OF PROCRUSTES and THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, Pasadena Arts League, and California Art Company, LLC. The exhibition is accompanied by a brochure with an essay by curator Linda Lima Cano.