Janice Caswell


My work begins with structures found in the manmade landscape, in particular, things that are slightly odd or awkward, show signs of wear, and that reflect the conditions, intentions and inventiveness of the people who made them. These objects display intriguing traces of a layered history: each detail, each alteration, reflects a maker’s hand and provides clues to the past.

Using photography, drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture, I create new forms and structures inspired by the thousands of such forms I have encountered, documented, and filed away in a mental library of angles, patterns, plays of light and shadow. My approach is both intuitive and improvisational, a combination of practicality, aesthetics, and serendipity.





This work traces the edges of recalled experience to understand how we organize memories. These mental maps use a pared-down, coded language through which points, lines and fields of color define spaces and retell personal narratives. Because memory is a flawed system, gaps arise in the process of recollecting; the mind constantly recreates the past even as I work to locate and secure it.


In this series I consider the combination of innate and invented logical systems we use to instill a sense of order. Guided by the sense that each work is a puzzle with a fixed number of logical outcomes, I sort and arrange component pieces, lining them up and fitting them into compact arrays. I envision a “right” solution that can be found by adhering to the mind’s ordering principles. Yet as I work I’m aware of an ongoing tension between the desire for order and the inevitability of imprecision. Right angles aren’t really right; lines meander and go awry; I have too many of a given color, or too few. And so my mind adapts, re-evaluates and reconfigures its own logic and accepts the beauty of the imperfect.