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25 Mar

Mabinogion Series

This work was produced for a private commission and was based on a selection of medieval Welsh tales lifted from the Mabinogion. The Mabinogion is a collection of eleven stories spread over two separate manuscripts which were written collectively between C.1350 and C.1410 AD. These stories were of great interest to the art collector who had commissioned the work. After reading some of the tales I was given free reign to choose which of them I would base my images upon. However, there was one exception, the colours of each images had to match and compliment the newly decorated interiors of the house belonging to the art collector.

I was delighted to produce these images and had much fun creating them. Now I am more familiar with the stories and its mythology than before.  In my younger years, I was very interested in Arthurian folklore. But, I have to say, that the tales that form the Mabinogion are far darker and more surreal. (Much to my liking.)

Each of the compositions contain a mixture of digital photography, some of which was taken in various location across Mid and SouthWales. I also, incorporated hand drawn elements, decalcomania and painting (of which was later digitally imported into the computer).


Hiraeth
2010
Vinyl on Acrylic Mirror
400mm x 400mm x 5mm

The image depicts Pentre Ifan the Bronze Age megalithic site dating to around 4000 BC . In my humble opinion, a Welsh landmark such as Pentre Ifan, is synechdocal of Bronze Age, ‘Mysterious Ancient Wales’. I thought of this image as setting the historic landscape and context for the three tiles. The celtic patterns and shapes form a circle that appears over the mountain range and continues down beneath the ground, reaching into the underworld. The four corners of the composition each contain a branch of a tree thus collectively forming the Four Branches of the Mabinogion.

Blodeuwedd
2010
Vinyl on Acrylic Mirror
400mm x 400mm x 5mm

I was mainly drawn to story of Blodeuwedd that is found in the Fourth Brach of the Mabinogion.In a very brief summary - Blodeuwedd was a beautiful woman created entirely out of flowers and meadowsweet by magicians Gwydion and Math. After being wed to Prince Llew, Blodeuwedd commits  adultery with a Hunter and they both fall in love and conspire to kill the Prince so they can be together. At the close of the story Blodeuwedd faces her punishment – instead of death she is turned by Gwydion into an Owl to be banished from the daytime forever: ”…you will never dare show your face in daylight for fear of all the birds and all the birds will be hostile towards you…”

Bendigeidfran
2010
Vinyl on Acrylic Mirror
400mm x 400mm x 5mm

Bendigeidfran is the Mountain from the story of Branwen. He is looking outward across the landscape and beyond, toward the observer. This composition relates partly to Blodeuwedd, in that Prince Llew had once told Blodeuwedd that he could only be killed if he stood with one foot on top of a bath and the other on top of a goat and be struck by a spear that is exactly one year old.  A Year later Llew is tricked by Blodeuedd  to show her this procedure and the hunter throws a one year old spear at him.  He is transformed into an eagle. At the close of the story, Llew is returned to human form and has his revenge upon the Hunter, using the spear. The Hunter had asked if he could use a rock to shield himself.  Llew agreed but threw the spear with such might that it shattered the bolder killing the Hunter. I have situated a spear and shattered bolder into the compostiton (below right) suggesting that the event had perhaps happened earlier that day.

“Myth is a compressed documentation of  historic content and aspiration” – Danny Kilbride

I don’t regard folkloric tales or mythology as being seperate or divorced from the interests that influence and inform my main line of work. In a contemporary context, modern day myths and euphemisms are just as prevalent today as they were long ago and used to a greater extent with the modern day entertainment and media industries.

One Comment

  1. 1 January 31, 2013 at 10:46 am
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    Some really excellent content on this website, appreciate it for contribution. “When he has ceased to hear the many, he may discern the One – the inner sound which kills the outer.” by H Hahn Blavatsky.

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