Caroline White (CRB)
TEXTS
Extract from the catalogue of Saint Bertrand de Comminges – 2000
Bertrand de la Vaissière - Jungien witness
Translated by Nicolas Lethbridge

Man’s fundamental instinct that order is contained within the apparent chaos of the world is at the root of his civilisation.

It is precisely this quality which Caroline White illustrates and which is rarely found among contemporary artists. Her works are not just plays on forms or celebrations of pure abstraction but are inspired creations in themselves. Throughout she draws you indirectly into the history of the spirit and illustrates the repeated efforts made through the ages to connect consciousness with the metaphysical or the supernatural.

With works such as “The Baladeur» or “Standing Room”, she leads us back to roam in an ancient, archaic world where the Gods were manifest in infinity and with the power of the Creator and where sorcerers and astrologers were needed to conduct dealings between created beings and spirits born from the earth or inhabiting the wind. Her train of thought can be followed in all sorts of directions. For example, two sketches – “Jacob’s Ladders”- confront us with the wedding of heaven and earth. Each rung of these dream columns expresses its own ordered and confident image which then unfolds into a single source of radiance. The pop art colours and the simplicity of the material belie the extraordinary complexity of the whole; you are forced to speculate with great humility, whether this is about the fragility or the impalpability, of the vibrating forms of the Presence (Sephiroth).

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Earth Shine II

The bronzes which are smaller deal with same motifs as “the Ladders” but in a somewhat different, purer way. In some of these pieces there is again the same evidence of ambiguity between twin forces inhabiting the artist’s mind. Spirals of time and squared images of cosmic order are echoed in other pieces such as “Earthshine” or “Total Eclipse”. These pieces also take you back to the inspiration of the Ancients but their dynamic seems still to be only half-formed, as if they are still figuring out how their arrangement is to develop.

 

However these pieces become resolved in other more recent works. The continuous spiral in “Arcades” is a meditation on time and space-time. The commanding presence of the two “Quadratures” is inexplicable. A double mandala appears in both, the one making an order without time and the other an order placed within time. Two spirals which meet and embrace: one square like the earth and the other round like the sky.

It is important to remember Caroline White’s early obsession with Romanesque art and her passion for the qualitative value of numbers. Thus it is intriguing to see manifestations of “Unus Mundus” finally appearing in her work This is after all the central notion of mediaeval natural philosophy in which the cosmos had always existed even before time. Now this term can signify for us an unknown background of physical or psychic phenomena, which is the essence of the spiritual dynamic for creativety; and in just the same way Saint Bertrand de Comminges provides a most fitting setting for these works of art.