Check it out: a gallery show about pools! You can see these paintings and monotypes of pools and swimmers at the First Street Gallery in Chelsea through April 21.
The artist is Michele Liebler, a Brooklynite who is clearly an accomplished pool tourist. LaGuardia pool buddy Zoe identified the diving well in The Loss–a sentiment familiar to anyone who’s ever lamented an empty pool at the end of the summer–as being the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, for example. Other images depict lap swimmers and backyard pools.
Given my own love for pools, my favorite images are the clear renditions done in oil on canvas, rather than the more impressionistic monotypes (not shown above or on the gallery’s site). The water is almost as tempting in paint as in real life. I am not sure I appreciated the art on a higher level, such as the gallery describes, but don’t let that stop you from trying: Viewed in its entirety, these swimming pools and swimmers signify a personal experience in the paintings, although one gets the feeling of a novelist’s transmutation of personal events into fiction.
Thanks to Zoe for alerting me to this show, and to Naomi and Kerith for meeting me there. The gallery attendants found it curious to have so many swim aficionados at once. I find it curious that there weren’t more!