Oil on canvas
114.3 x 121.9 cm (45 x 48 inches)
Gift of Marti and Tony Oppenheimer and the Oppenheimer Brothers Foundation
With the case of Swimming, Smoking, Crying, I felt like the verbs together made a kind of poetic sense. Smoking and crying seemed to go well together, they are both signifiers of distress, but when you are swimming, you are kind of muted, and they stop signifying, because, you know, the water and the tears blend together, smoking and swimming is impossible… or inadvisable! The poetic sense for me was that it felt a lot about interior head space, or breath. So there is a kind of feeling of … There is a lot of atmosphere in the water, almost like the head is being trapped under the water, or there is smoke being trapped under the water that is sort of irritating the eyes. The head, I wanted it to feel like an island itself, with all this information going on on the underside of it. I think when you are swimming, you are really in your own lane, it’s an interesting kind of sport, because you are kind of invisible, you body is submerged in the water, and yet you are going. You are constantly reminded of your own breath and rhythm, but you are really in your own lane. So I felt like it was also kind of a private activity. You are very aware of being under the water and outside of the water.