16 March, 6pm – 8.30pm. Book launch with reading by author
Britannic Myths is the first book to come from the collaboration between the mythographer Steven O’Brien and Stuckist artist Joe Machine. Both Joe and Steven believe that the submerged energies of some of the most primal narratives of these islands are in danger of being lost. In prose and painting they seeks to delve into the mythic matter of Britain, and Ireland and so re-cast these stories for fresh ears and eyes. The artefacts generate from the seductive, fiery enchantment of our oldest tales.
The term Britannic was taken from the writing of Seamus Heaney who argued that an ancient, alloyed unity of cultural interplay exists across the landscape of the North Atlantic Archipelago.
Gods, monsters and naked maidens
The image above is a character from the old Welsh tales of the Mabinogion. Math emerges as a thunderous, red-bearded warrior and magician who cannot be calmed unless he rests his feet in the lap of a virgin. When his two nephews rape Goewin – his favourite maiden – he vows revenge.
Says Machine: ‘The power of the stories lies not so much as folk tales from isolated islands, but in their universal connection to ancient cultures. These dialogues with the divine, and struggles of the human spirit are timeless, and show us how myths are as important today as they ever were.’
Published by Theme Artefact, the print run is a limited edition of 500, 100 of which are hardback
Joe Machine is an English artist and writer, who started painting around 1988 in an attempt to escape the background of theft. Without any formal art training or a college degree, he was one of the founders of the anti-conceptual art group called Stuckists, with which he widely exhibited. A prize winner in the Cork Street Open Exhibition in London in 2012, some of his recent shows include Fairytales – Russian and British at Russian Cultural Centre in the UK (2014); Alice in the Wonderland/ Alice in the Artworld at Omnibus in London (2014), and Machine Evolution at CNB Gallery in London (2013).
Dr Steven O’Brien is the editor of The London Magazine and widely published poet. His most recent collections are Scrying Stone and Dark Hill Dreams. He has also recently published The Great Game: An Imperial Adventure with Endeavour Press. He lectures at the University of Portsmouth, where he leads the MA in Creative Writing. He is also Visiting Fellow of Creative Writing at University College Chichester. His doctoral thesis formed an interrogation of the poetic imagination from a Jungian perspective.