Janice Caswell

TechnikArt (Paris)

No. 79, February 2004

An Even Exchange

By Benedict Ramade

(translated from French)

Anne Barrault extends an invitation to American gallerists Schroeder Romero. Luckily, they brought Janice Caswell with them.

Last year Anne Barrault showed sample work from her artists’ stable in one of the numerous galleries in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Today she returns the favor to Schroeder Romero, her American fellow gallerists. What could have easily turned out to be a real chore, the same way parents impose foreign pen pals on their teenage children for linguistic and cultural purposes (sometimes sexual too), turned into a winning blow here thanks to the discovery, among the three New York artists, of the talented Janice Caswell. She captivates the attention immediately with her wall piece, both imposing and delicate at the same time, composed of a black sinuous line, punctuated at each of the many knots by paper constellations pinned to the wall. One can see easily that it is the representation of a route, a precise outline, without knowing that it is above all a mental map that doesn’t correspond to the topographic reality of a place. Caswell’s routes come from her memory, marked by forgotten recollections, confusion, starting and end points, and pieces of stories. She slips personal memories into a poetic and colorful abstraction so that audiences seize and use them to continue the story without really grasping whether the colorful disks are places or people. It is the mystery in which the artist leaves the piece that gives it its force. No written tale, no instruction and no description of protocol. Just find your place and start moving through this new geography of the mind.