These ink paintings by illustrator, author and publisher Leanne Shapton are selected from original pages of her 2012 graphic novel Swimming Studies. The novel gathers fragments of text and imagery that together form a nuanced archive of Shapton’s experience as a competitive swimmer in her adolescence, her voluntary ‘retirement,’ and the transferral of discipline to an art practice.
The Vals series were made during a vacation to the Hotel Therme Vals thermal pools in Switzerland, fulfilling a long-term desire of Shapton’s to swim in their famed granite-lined, cave-like pools. In a chapter titled Bathing she writes, “Between my thrice-daily swims, I paint the view from my window twenty-three times.” These paintings are reproduced in the preceding chapter, and represent her newfound understanding of swimming as a recreational rather than competitive activity.
Leanne Shapton, b. 1973, is a Canadian artist and writer. She lives and works in New York City.
Ink on paper
4.6 × 6.5 inches unframed
9 × 11 inches framed