Article by: Dave Roberts - First Published: 1 November 2011
In 1998 Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) officially opened the new Jubilee Wing at the hospital and quite fitting for a city that is famous for its public works of art, the whole area leading to the entrance of the Jubilee Wing was renamed Jubilee Square and became an intervention of art. The award winning artist Tess Jaray RA was commissioned to design Jubilee Square, on which she worked with sculptor Tom Lomax. Here they would create one of the most delightful squares in the country and certainly in my opinion the most creative and interesting access to any hospital I have seen.
Looking around Jubilee Square you are left in little doubt that here worked the minds of creators, and not merely the work of traditional architecture. Street lamps appear like winged angels casting their shadows over the curves of the decorative brick structures, structures which lend one's eye along and beyond, every backdrop part of the visual impact.
Here and there are Sculptures - the 'Guardian Angels' a collective group of pieces by Tom Lomax, which are derived from stories and ancient myths.
Each piece having its own name and story to tell, but collectively offering a sense of protection and caring, how myths form all around the world look to forces beyond themselves in times of stress and need.
Their creator - Tom Lomax told me "I wanted to juxtapose to form relationships of the contemporary architecture with representation of these forces of natural or psychological."
I asked Tom if there was any tribal or cultural representation in the pieces?
He answered: "Not specifically, they are an attempt to find universal references in archetypal signs and forms I use, that build up to a story or myth I have heard about angels from different cultures.
Observing my photos he said:
"The image of Gabriel comes from a description that Mohamed is believed to have made when he was confronted by Gabriel. He is believed to have said that the angel had one hundred and forty wings, the rest is my imagination of how that may manifest itself.
"Uriel is described as being an entity that speeds through the morning sky in the form of a chariot and who's symbol is a burning hand, and as you will see I have inscribed arabesque patterns, in red, on the hand to represent the flames.
"Two are versions of Raphael the archangel who is most associated with healing, it is said that this guardian is keeper of knowledge and has in its possession the book of science and who subdues the maladies of the world. In the group of six, he is described in one myth has having three pairs of wings and is all seeing. From that I developed the idea of wings as plants growing out of the fertile healthy world and the flower on top of each plant is in the form of an all seeing eye.
Of Raphael - image II - Tom said:
"Similar to Uriel, the angel speeding across the morning sky as a golden entity. I have used a circular sun image to depict this and the corona that explode out of the Sun becomes the limbs of the angel.
Of the last piece he said:
"Michael is in the form of a sword as in mythical stories and painting, the angel Michael is regarded as the protector and is depicted with the sword in the process of being drawn from its scabbard, Michael is also known as the benevolent angel of death.
Me: Are there any hidden secrets that you can reveal about the pieces?
Tom: "Not really, they are more about allusions that reference the mythologies that surround these phenomena. However, these allusions are open to interpretation of the imagination as I allowed myself to do with the original stories."
Me: I'm trying not to suggest too much, I would much prefer to see how my own thoughts match the facts.
Tom: "My intention is to allow others' imaginations to participate and develop their own interpretations and allow their imagination to wander speculatively."
Tom has worked as a self employed Fine Art Sculptor and Painter since 1976, he recently retired from his position as a lecturer of Slade School of Fine Art. He continues as a visiting lecturer to establishments with recent appointments at Greenwich University, plus Health Care units operated by the NHS.
His most recent exhibition being at Rook Lane Arts Trust in Frome, Somerset.
I thanked Tom for his assistance in putting together this article and wished him well with his retirement. He thanked me adding "retirement is great, you do not put things off, so I can concentrate on the creative side of things."
Clearly we'll be hearing and seeing more from Tom, as retirement doesn't mean tools down and feet up.
A brief Lomax biography can be viewed by follow the Tom Lomax link below.
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