Plattsburgh State Art Museum
Extract from the introduction to the catalogue of the exhibition, by invitation, held in June 2009 to celebrate Samuel de Champlain. The series of paintings completed by artist Samir Sammoun for this exhibition focus on the subject of Lake Champlain.
"This body of work, completed during the past six months, celebrates the quadricentennial of the exploration of Lake Champlain in 1609 by Samuel de Champlain.
The work depicts vast expanses of water and mountains, and is painted in the manner of the Post-Impressionists, a movement in art found in France at the end of the 19th century. Sammoun uses a contemporary interpretation of the post-impressionist style of strong colors, a thick impasto of paint, and distinctive brushstrokes to illustrate his subject matter. Light and atmosphere play a major role in bringing the paintings to life. The Lake Champlain series addresses the subject of the exploration of the lake by Samuel de Champlain. A French explorer and cartographer, Champlain first traveled to New France in 1603. By 1609 his exploration brought him to the western shores of the Rivière des Iroquois (Richelieu River). While navigating the river in the birch-bark canoe of his native allies, his exploration brought him to the shores of a lake that would be his namesake. Keeping to the western shore, his exploration took him as far south as Ticonderoga. Sammoun has followed the explorers' trail, depicting scenes of the lake as Champlain might have encountered it. Born in the Chouf Mountains, south of Beirut in Lebanon, Samir was interested in painting and drawing from an early age. He finished his studies at the School of Arts and Crafts in Beirut, Lebanon, and immigrated to Canada at age twenty-one where he attended the École Polytechnique in Montreal earning degrees in electronic engineering and telecommunications. With a strong creative spirit, Samir traveled to Europe to study the work of Camille Pissarro, Vincent Van Gogh, and Georges Seurat. He begins a painting using a coarse linen canvas with an undercoating of burnt umber and sienna pigment. The finished works are created using thick layers of paint applied in a rhythmic motion, building pigment upon pigment to create realist-based land and seascapes."