Bridget McLaren

Much of my work is unplanned and evolves spontaneously. Unconscious reference is repeatedly drawn from personal and global mythologies, but it is in the events of everyday life, sometimes strange, more often familiar, that ideas germinate. Through my working practice archetypal images and motifs emerge, recurrent themes and patterns, alluding to the interconnectedness of all things.

The Red, the White, the Black

These companion pieces, which are reflections of each other, relate to ‘The Story of Peredur Son of Efrawg’ from the Mabinogion. In his adventures, the hero, Peredur, comes across a raven stooping over a wild duck in the snow. He stops utterly transfixed. The scene serves as a reflector affording Peredur a conscious representation of his beloved. He sinks into a deep reverie likening the snow to the whiteness of her skin, the raven’s feathers to the blackness of her hair, and the two drops of blood upon the snow to the redness of her cheeks.

These three colours, red, white and black occur repeatedly in variations throughout world folklore. They are synonymous with the Hero’s Quest, in this instance reflecting the beauty and cruelty of the Middle Ages when animals were often viewed as ‘purveyors of moral lessons or objects of aesthetic contemplation’ (Boria Sax 2003).

As Caitlin Matthews (1999) observes, within the Celtic tradition, red, white and black appear in triadic fusion as the colours of the spiritual quest which has its easy, difficult and inspired phases. All phases are important, each containing a particular wisdom for us to reflect upon as we follow our personal quest for meaning.

The Red, the White, the Black (Diptych)
2 images 43 x 43cm each
Mixed Media