Open Swim | Left Bank Gallery Essex

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Three feet under, 48x36", Oil on canvas, 2011

"Left Bank Gallery Essex 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.

“Open Swim” is French’s first solo exhibition in Connecticut. The exhibition will be on view at Left Bank Gallery Essex from May 4 through June 13. Meet the artist at the opening reception on Thursday, May 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. This is a free public event. Light refreshments will be served. "

First breath, 48x48", Oil on canvas, 2011

Merging waters, 48x36", Oil on canvas, 2011

Deep dive, 36x36", Oil on canvas, 2011

Sink in; float, 36x36", Oil on canvas, 2011

Lowest dive, 30x30", Oil on canvas, 2011

Sun bathers; Palm springs, 8x8", Oil on linen on board, 2011

Palm Springs, 24x24", Oil on canvas, 2011

Pause, 8x8", Oil on linen on board, 2011

Slow Breathing II, 24x18", Oil on canvas, 2011

Somersault, 20x30", Oil on canvas, 2011

Samantha French’s latest paintings depict bathing beauties and submerged swimmers, and the water and refractive light surrounding them. Her imagery elucidates the tranquility 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, Samantha French’s 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 grays 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.
10 Main Street
Essex, CT 06426
Ph: 860-767-0449


  1. Outstanding paintings. Makes me want to dive in a pool. Hope your show is going well.

  2. I love the way you did the water. There is a lot of dynamism and motion. Your pictures are full of life. Beautiful work.

  3. Your oil paintings are inspiring! I googled oil paintings of swimmers which lead me to your site. I'm getting ready to start an oil painting of a diver myself, do you have any good advice?


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