Caroline White (CRB)
Écrits
18 Septembre 2006

More than sixteen years after writing for “Transition”, and coinciding with the creation of my internet site, I feel it is necessary to bring things up to date. I write very little about my work, after all it is purely visual whatever the intellectual interpretations might be. I find it easier often to quote other people as they are able to express emotions or ideas that link directly with my own thinking in a much more effective way.

My reaction on re-reading this text was that it was a good and honest appraisal at the time, but my thinking and way of working have come on a long way since. However certain elements remain preoccupations and as they have developed my own needs and aspirations as an artist have become clearer. …Having lived well out of the “art world “ for a long time, I think I have shed a lot of the pretension and intellectual analysis that was required as a lecturer and young and up and coming artist. One of the reasons, I see now, for leaving everything to come and live in the south of France, was to become myself, an artist, if I were capable.

I think this has paid off and I have grown from a mixture of artistic influences, a long term apprentice, into an artist in my own right. Always looking, rarely satisfied but confident in the direction I have taken. I do not fit into any particular mode, I am not “a conceptual or ephemeral artist”. I make my work with my hands, my eyes and my mind. I draw regularly as a control to the much more abstract difficult work in 3 dimensions. I try to make work that is uplifting, that can be interpreted by others without imposing my rules or life on them. I do not think the life of an artist, other than superficially, is of any interest to the general public, it is the work that counts. This statement seems to me to be almost in direct opposition to most contemporary “work” that we see in the galleries today.

Recently I was in Madrid, and spent a few hours with Goya, whom I recognised for the first time in the genius and modernity of his portraiture. I was spellbound. The next day I went to the contemporary art section in the Centre Reina Maria Sofia….. there was nothing for me. I found everything apart from a few pieces by Chillida boring, presumptuous and totally lacking in any poetry or potential development beyond itself. Working on my own has made me far more courageous in stating what I do or do not consider to be art.

I still aspire to Richard Gregory’s phrase about astrolabes being “ objects that contain knowledge”. I still think that that this is true of all great art ,and when we look at it we discover its ability to reveal more of itself on each encounter. I still adhere to Matisse’s words about how the artist engages in his work and from this is able to free his unconscious mind.

Light, Space, Form, Tone and Colour , all remain treasured and infinite “journeys” to embark upon. The materials have become much more important, becoming part of the subject as much as the structure of the work. Watercolour is just as solid as bronze for me, with obviously its own intrinsic properties, which influence the outcome of the work. The circle and the spiral in its infinite possibilities remain a constant source of reflection with the addition of real movement, making an apparently simple form become incredibly complicated. Numerology and combinations of numbers become more overt and through the possibilities of movement I have begun to discover more and more potential images. The problems I have are more to do with selecting and channelling from the infinite possibilities unfolding in front of me, than searching for ideas. The development of the work is always the result of working on one piece to another. I still work in series and on several different things at the same time. As Picasso said " I do not seek, I find " !

Since coming here, I have been away very little. My whole life revolves around my studio, my family, our house and big garden. I have virtually no desire to be in a town and have exhibited only rarely since being here. My most frequent outings are to the foundry, which as fate will have it is only about 15 kilometres from here. However I have begun to receive people in my studio and house here a lot of work is on display, an ideal situation to see the work in. I find it much better than a gallery. I have had to adapt my work pattern around this life which has brought me much closer to nature, and to use the time that I have in the studio economically.

I am still interested in site specific work and enjoy the challenge and constraints of a commission. Network 90, the piece I made for the BBC has now been transferred to the Conseil Général de la Haute-Garonne in Toulouse, and installed in the foyer space leading to their conference centre. It has survived and adapted remarkably well.

Today I am just as excited and committed to producing work as I ever have been. The big difference is that my resources come from within, nourished by nature and the beauty of the landscape in which I live, rather than the harsh and superficial star system of the art world. This has been essential for my development as an artist.