Review

Artist and writer Anthony Paul recently wrote this about my work;
Helen Grove-White is an integrative artist whose work is concerned with the world and our place in it. Her installations marry sophisticated applications of photography and film to the elemental stuff of the natural world, water, seaweed, stone, slate, sand, approaching both media and natural raw materials in a spirit of unconstrained openness. She prints or projects photographic imagery, still and moving, of natural objects, including the human body, on unexpected surfaces and materials and in unexpected settings, natural and man-made, setting up new connections that open the viewer’s mind and senses to a fuller sense of reality.

Helen’s work offers metaphors for poignant interactions of the human and natural, the transient and the permanent; they are poetic meditations on the delicacy of the web of life and our human involvement in it, the continuousness of the body and the physical world. She doesn't tell us what we ought to think, let alone do, about matters that concern her deeply, and which affect us all; she allows us to think and to feel, and, in the first place, to use our senses, sight, touch, hearing, the sense of orientation in space; to look, and then to 'look a little closer'. Helen's art serves more essential and powerful purposes than to embody a theory or an idea (she is not a conceptualist, but, rather, an “essentialist”); she delights the senses at the same time as activating the mind, she reminds us of what it is to be alive, embodied and on earth.

As well as enterprisingly original and seriously intentioned Helen’s pieces are also, to use a word rather rare in current discourse about art, beautiful. The two ways art can achieve beauty (often combined in various proportions) are from the outside in and from the inside out: the first, classic method, applies or imposes formal and abstract schemes of beauty, harmonious relations of proportion, colour etc, to what is represented, or, in the case of abstract art, makes these relations themselves the subject; the second, which is more Helen’s way, finds aesthetic order and harmony in the life of things and their ways of being related to each other.

All the qualities and characteristics that have been mentioned, together with one that has not been - the way the work is brought into focus with a poetic and playful title - are exemplified in ‘Sea Breathing’. The experience this piece offers is, appropriately, breathtaking. Standing in front of it, watching the pulsing of the waves on the shirt that stands with elegant economy for the human presence, and hearing the sound of the human breath the viewer is at once delightfully disoriented and embraced by a visual and aural experience in which a double meaning held in perfect balance leaves one not puzzled or flummoxed as one may be by a surrealistic paradox, but with the sense of having been enabled to experience and feel the deep connectedness and ultimate oneness of all life.

Anthony Paul