This ink painting by illustrator, author and publisher Leanne Shapton is 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 was 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 author, artist and publisher based in New York City. She is the co-founder, with photographer Jason Fulford, of J&L Books, an internationally-distributed not-for-profit imprint specializing in art and photography books. Shapton's Swimming Studies won the 2012 National Book Critic's Circle Award for autobiography, and was long listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2012. Her works have also appeared in the The New York Times and The New Yorker.
Ink on paper
4.6 × 6.5 inches unframed