Tuesday, 27 May 2014


 Some Reflections on Mythology

From the creation out of Chaos and the birth of the Olympian gods and goddesses, ancient Greek myths have shaped and informed Western consciousness

Green Man

Through subsequent artistic representations, paintings and sculptures have helped define what we call beauty, setting down a yard-stick against which even modern art is sometimes measured

Shakespearean 'mythology' from The Tempest
3D stage design by Mike Healey

In my work I have tried frequently to reinterpret these classical stories and to find relevance for contemporary audiences

Pagan God by Mike Healey

In some cases I have gone back to times before the classical Greek myths, to an even darker pagan age when fearful creatures inhabited the forests, demanding human sacrifices to appease their anger - as in the picture above

Persephone by Mike Healey

I have also tried to explore the great fertility myth associated with Persephone and her rape and abduction by Hades, King of the Underworld

The above painting shows female followers of Dionysius resting after having torn a man limb from limb for observing one of their secret rites. All that is left of him is one foot (top right)!

Persephone and Demeter - collage by Mike Healey

This great myth - representative of fundamental fertility/creation cycles - is a rich source for artists like me, drawn as we are to natural forms within an ever-changing natural world

Titania by Mike Healey

Sometimes I have reinterpreted quasi-mythological characters from Shakespeare whose imagination was itself steeped in ancient mythology, largely via Ovid

Often, however, it is necessary to go against traditional, 'classical' representations and re-invent mythical figures - as in my recent drawing of Venus, the goddess of Love

Green Venus by Mike Healey

In the above picture I have made Venus a pagan figure, lustful and somewhat scary - an image far removed from 'sanitized' Classical Greek or later Renaissance representations

(I am currently turning this small drawing into a large canvas painting. I will let you know how I am getting on over the next few weeks)

It is this constant attempt to reinterpret mythological figures that, for an artist at least, is particularly fulfilling

Coming Soon to this blog

New paintings exploring the dark world of Dionysus

Mike Healey

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