Grim Reaper 1; Gold in the fire

29 Sep
Reaper 1 C

Grim Reaper 1; Gold in the fire

I have been visiting amultiple temples, churches and holy sites during the last six weeks. The common theme running through all is the focus on death. Some of these sites concentrate on the life lead before death. The Karma Sutra temples of Kujaraho seeming to draw as much from life before death, the Buddhist temples striving towards a better life and towards annihilation in death, the Hindu concentration on the place of death, how ashes are disposed of. Cathedrals celebrating death in its many forms, the wealthy prominently displayed. The ossuary with thousands upon thousands of human bones displayed for inspection of the curious.


Ossuary at Kutha Hora, Czech Republic

During my career I have been privileged to usher out of this life many individuals, and at the same time have been present at the birth of others. I do not however intend to embark on a philosophical contemplation of death, except that it comes to us all and it probably isn’t a bad idea to be prepared for it.

I have decided to create a series of pictures which I shall call the Grim Reaper Series in which I shall try and explore the subject and hopefully find a little humour in it. I worked in a chest hospital for a year or two. One evening an elderly emphysematous gentleman had gone into respiratory failure from which there was no chance of rescue. He lay in a seeming coma for about 24 hours, his breathing gradually getting shallower and shallower until it was almost impossible to know if he were alive or not. A young nurse monitoring his signs bent down with her cheek close to his face trying to detect a breath. He opened his eyes and said “Boo!” She came rushing into the staff room all of a fluster – “That Mr Jones!!!” And he passed away a few hours later.

This picture is made up of several layers including the texture of ragged gold leaf applied to a brick wall, candles in a church representing mankind as a flickering flame that is soon extinguished. In the background of my picture several skulls taken from one of the ossuaries can be seen. I intend to use these along with the chest X-ray in this series as a motif.

The chest X-ray was taken from a 17 year old man with a lymphoma of the lung that finally caused his death. This condition is now treatable. The original image came from hospital museum files was dated before Hodgkins disease could be treated with any consistent success.

7 Responses to “Grim Reaper 1; Gold in the fire”

  1. kirsty warman September 29, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    How was your holiday? and Vals Villas?

    • Xraypics September 29, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

      Still in Villa Vals, taking a break from the travelling and enjoying it immensely. I’d like to send you photos, will do so when we get home, end of October, a long way to go yet. The villa is stunning, had an unexpected visitor yesterday to view the place; an architect from Italy with no English “Bellissimo! Bellissimo!” Seemed to be all he could say.

      • kirsty warman September 30, 2014 at 8:05 am #

        Wow!! that sounds absolutely wonderful. Happy holidays. Kx

  2. burgessart September 29, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    A magical six weeks Tony…….good to see back with your new work!

    • Xraypics September 29, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

      Thank you so much. I’m interested to see where it takes me. Tony

  3. leecleland September 29, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    Welcome home, is it six weeks already?
    I like your thoughts on this next series and look forward to where it might lead. This image is fresh and I like that you are continuing to use X-rays as your signature, so to speak.

    • Xraypics September 29, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

      Thanks, not home yet, still travelling, but holed up in a holiday home where we are relaxing and I can take time to look at my art again. Thanks for the comment.

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