Friday, April 1, 2011

Open Swim : Samantha French

Samantha French - Three Feet Below - Oil on Canvas - 36 x 48 in

Open Swim : Samantha French

May 4th - June 13th 2011

Meet the artist : Thursday, May 5th from 5 - 8 pm

Left Bank Gallery Essex, LLC presents a solo exhibition by young contemporary oil painter, Samantha French. “Open Swim” will feature French’s latest paintings, depicting bathing beauties and submerged swimmers, and the water and refractive light surrounding them. French’s paintings elucidate the tranquillity and serenity of water, and the intrinsic value of a dip in the pool or a day at the beach.

Based on the artist’s childhood memories of summers spent at the lakes in northern Minnesota, her newest paintings capture pool-side conversations or tanned women surfacing for sunlight and air. French’s most intriguing canvases portray swimming figures from below or from the side, and capture light and reflections on top of or entering the water. She uses gestural brush strokes and fresh color choices, and thoughtfully crops her compositions to emphasize the space beyond the picture plane. As her figures float or glide through lakes and swimming pools, each swimmer is immersed in the moment and caught in solitude, liberated from the constraints of gravity. With figures dressed in retro swimwear, often in red, orange or black, contrasted against cool greys or aqua blues; French’s paintings blur the line between vintage and modern, creating a nostalgic place or time that seems familiar yet current. Of her work, French explains, “I am drawn to an idealistic time before my own, where swim caps and wool swimsuits were commonplace. This combination of memory, observation and photography (old and new) has allowed me to preserve the transitory qualities of water and remembrance.” French’s paintings will breathe new life into any interior, and invite one to pause for a moment of calm and clarity even on the cloudiest of days.

Samantha French was born and raised in north central Minnesota and graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a BA in Fine Arts in 2005. She currently resides in New York City. Her work can be found in private collections throughout the country. “Open Swim” is French’s first solo exhibition in Connecticut.

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