Health & Wellness

Survivor's Paintings Part of Overlook's 'Healing Arts Program'; Works on Display Through Nov. 10

Numerator 10 - oil and aluminum powder on twill linen 82"x76" (2016).
Numerator 9 - oil and metallic powder on twill linen, 82"x 76" (2016).

SUMMIT, NJ - David French was diagnosed with cancer in 2000, and today is cancer free. The England-born French's artwork now gives a visual impact to the themes of recovery and healing via Numerators, an exhibition of paintings currently on view in the Bouras Gallery at Overlook Medical Center through November 10.

The subject matter has been a constant interest to the artist since recovering from cancer more than a decade ago. Appearing to float on the wall, the seven, large-scale works use a unique painting technique which -- together with the use of metallic powders -- create simmering color surfaces.
 
Their embrace of space, surface, body, gesture and chance gives rise to a different kind of pure abstraction. Working in fields of metallic color and solvents French, for both autobiographical and formal reasons, creates imagery by removing paint.

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"I made these paintings in order to make sense of certain things that occurred and I wish to occur. I made these works in order to try and come to terms with the unknown," said French.
 
Numerators is part of Overlook's -- and its parent Atlantic Health System's -- "Healing Arts Program," which provides opportunities to experience health and well-being by bringing literary, performing and visual arts to their patients, staff and the communities they serve.
 
The organization believes the arts are an essential component to health, healing and well-being. The program aims to enhance the healing culture of their facilities through the arts; facilitate and encourage participation in the healing arts for those who are ill and their caregivers; support and advance research exploring the benefits and role of the arts in health, healing and well-being; and embrace and foster artistic collaborations within Atlantic Health System and through community partnerships.


French says, "I use oil paint because of its fluid, fleshy quality not unlike the body. The painting surface is a skin its illusory depth a body and space. I use metallic paints in my Numerator series where I consider chemotherapy, and the platinum based drug I received for treatment. This notion of a metallic poison as life saver and remedy, interests me. The paintings become a location for healing and meditation. They were produced by a process of removal and subtraction. I dripped solvent on wet paint. This action symbolizes both the destructive and productive quality found in chemotherapy. By dripping solvent across the surface it registers both the uncontrolled and my actions and agency in making the painting, as well as in the effort involved in healing. I create new cells, spaces and dimensions by wiping the surface clean.”

French lives and works in New Jersey, and has been exhibiting artwork professionally since 1987. He pursued his love of visual art at Carnegie-Mellon University and Vermont College of Fine Art, and further mentored with D.C. based Color-field artist Sam Gilliam and New York City artist / writer Mira Schor. In 1990, French presented his first solo exhibition in Chicago.

He continues to show his work in museums and galleries across the country, and received a purchase award in 2013 from the Noyes Museum to install a public sculpture on view at the Atlantic City Waterfront Sculpture Walk. French has exhibited at the Rawls, Monmouth, and Noyes Museums He has also exhibited at SOHO20Gallery, G.R.N’Namdi Gallery and Greenpoint Gallery in New York City. 

For more information on the artist, and to see additional artwork, visit  davidfrenchfineart.com.

The exhibition is available to the public 24 hours a day, seven day a week. The Bouras Art Gallery, located inside Bouras Auditorium at Overlook Medical Center, is located at 99 Beauvoir Avenue.

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