Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) was a Scottish concrete and visual poet, artist, sculptor, landscape artist, and irrepressible carmudgeon. Through his Wild Hawthorn Press, he published numerous printed works with a variety of collaborators and many of them are still available for purchase (Wild Hawthorn Press). This work includes a text about death by Abraham a Santa Clara, the ecclesiastical name of the German Augustinian monk, Johann Ulrich Megerle (1644-1709). Known for his eloquence as a preacher and "...the impartial severity with which he lashed the follies of all classes of society and the court in particular," (Wikipedia:3/14/12). This description of Megerle resonates with Finlay's own personality and I have no doubt this was one of the attractions of this fellow traveller across the centuries.
Finlay's work was deeply involved with Neo-classical themes and the more time I spend with his work the richer and more complex his ouevre becomes. This simple and visually powerful piece morphs an agrarian tool associated with nature into a Nazi symbol for a culture of death, both of which complement Megerle's text on the work of the Reaper as well as a pointed contemporary critique that spares neither the lowly nor the mighty. Single pages 8" (h) x 2 7/8" (w), expanded 8" x 11 4/8"