Given that painting’s portfolio, regardless of its epic history, has historically always occupied a handful of categories: portraiture, genre (lifestyle), landscape, still-life, and abstract, what is considered innovative and or new for the medium seems nearly impossible. Any discoveries within the medium are often re-discoveries. The contemporary world, with all of its technological advances, fails to find an improvement or substitute for painting. New methods are hardly possible as paint will always be pigment on surface.
Caroline Mousseau finds a reason to continue working in a manner that is uniquely her own. The lines are deliberate. The movements are controlled. Her process is unique: by drying out the oil paints and adding wax to the oils, Mousseau is able to achieve an identity that translates to a new perspective anchored by the canvas but clearly yearning for movement beyond the optic surface. The artist aims to embody contradictions. Her lines curve vertically and horizontally, and slightly towards the viewer, as paint spills over the edges of the brush marks.
To refer to her works as abstract isn’t accurate enough. Her long controlled strokes are almost arabesque. They are almost lyrical ribbons. They are almost landscapes. The lines are almost patterns, but the patterns always stop, as any repetition is quarantined to a segment of each canvas. Being “almost” several descriptors is essential because this open-ness and “hybrid” quality that Mousseau aims for is the heart of her practice. Her stringent regimen is balanced against possibility. The structure she created was meant to foster even the smallest opportunity to push painting forward. Rules were created in the search of the smallest sliver of freedom. When we are open to many systems, instead of subscribing to only one, we are most alive because we are most sensitive.
Mousseau cites inspiration from females masters such as Mary Hielmann, Katherina Grosse, Pia Fries, and Agnes Martin, but the emerging artist also finds influences in painters that change our perceptions and pre-detemined ideas of culture or of painting. Therefore, Odili Donald Odita and El Anatsui are also important. For Mousseau, painting can never lose relevance because it is indifferent to time, technological advances, and geographical differences because all painters submit to paint’s unique properties. Painting is the medium that forces, pulls, and elongates reflection. In a world that is rapidly changing, painting doesn’t. Painting does not yield to a culture of constant stimuli and instantaneous satisfaction. Mousseau knows that painting cannot be rushed.
Caroline Mousseau graduated as the valedictorian of Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2012. She also studied l’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 2010. Mousseau has exhibited throughout Canada and in 2014, she was curated in 100 Painters of Tomorrow, with an eponymous book launch, in London and New York. Mousseau’s first solo exhibition was at CYDONIA in March 2014.
The artist lives and works in Vancouver.