The Priest (Triptych)

2019
Archival Pigment Photograph
20
x
90
in

Signed, titled, dated and numbered from edition of 20 on recto.


In one of his most recent works, The Priest, Jim Lee captures a provocative moment; a priest acts on impulse and removes his collar as he watches a woman pass him by. The model walks by either oblivious to the priest or in a game of cat and mouse, moving sultrily past him. In either case, the priest does a double-take, removing his clerical collar so as not to violate that which is stricken from his uniform. Without the collar, he is free to pursue his passion.

In the construction of the image, the strong, geometric lines of the background and the stark shadows emanating from the subjects give dimensionality to the picture. The drab, architectural backdrop, acts as a neutral background, in turn highlighting the protagonists of the image as the main focus of the composition. Note that she is in full light, confident in her demeanor, while the priest is half in light and half in the dark, less sure of himself; A priest taking off his collar, adds to the provocative nature of the image. Jim Lee’s masterful art direction imbues the photograph with context, leaving the viewer to want to create the remainder of the storyline. Lee’s ability to visualize the friction between power, morality, and desire are characteristic of his oeuvre.