Joe Machine | CNB Gallery

19 February 2016
CNB Gallery

‘For the myth is the foundation of life; it is the timeless schema, the pious formula into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious.’ – Thomas Mann

The Director of CNB, Rebecca Lidert, is delighted to present Britannic Myths, the gallery’s second solo show by the acclaimed British artist Joe Machine.

The twelve paintings that make up the exhibition have been created in collaboration with the academic and writer Dr Steven O’Brien, and are based on a dialogue around his soon to be published book, Britannia Stories.

Britannia Stories explores twenty myths. While all of these are commonly associated with the British Isles, many originate from other civilisations, countries and cultures, and were adopted – and adapted – as a consequence of invasion and conquest. The two men worked closely in examining the origins of all the stories, and on determining the relevance of each to the 21st century, with Machine’s paintings influencing O’Brien’s writings, and vice versa.

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.’

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What they’re saying

‘Like many of the most remarkable artists of the Modern and Post Modern epoch, Joe Machine is self-taught. As it happens, being self-taught is also very much part of the English – or should I be politically correct and call it the ‘British’ – tradition. Francis Bacon, notoriously, had no professional formation as a painter. William Blake, in many ways a precursor of Joe Machine, spent six years studying at the Royal Academy, but the instruction he received seems to have bounced off him. All it did was instil in him a profound disrespect for academic ways of thinking, at least as these were understood in the England of the time.’ – Writer & critic, Edward Lucie-Smith


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