Shaun Ellison, Djokovic, French Open Final, 2023; Original Painting
What began as a tool to process South African artist Shaun Ellison’s relationship to the sport of tennis has grown into a vibrant, evocative practice that captures the spontaneity and fragility of groups, success and failure in sport. Based in Brooklyn, New York, the artist brings unity to many of the inherent contradictions of tennis and its history, and uses color, expressive composition, and unexpected figures and motifs to touch on the diversity, rigor and growth of the sport and its cultural legacy. Ellison studied at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, School of Visual Arts and NY Studio School. While at Louisiana Lafayette, the artist played for the school’s Division 1 tennis team before competing professionally on the ATP Tour. Recent exhibitions include Hit & Miss at Taymour Grahne Projects (London, UK).
Djokovic, French Open Final is a new work depicting the former world #1 player in the moments before the serve. Shadows carve muscles in Djokovic’s calves as he prepares for the point. He bounces the ball against the line and gritty skids speckle the red clay court–ghosts of line calls, slides and slices. The trademark Lacoste alligator slips between the line judge’s legs. The genial crowd is speckled with greens and blues in a more subtle play than the artist’s creatures and critters that are sometimes interspersed in the audiences. These newer works have taken on an increasingly muted realism, defined by rough textures and soft edges with sharp contrasting colors that bring the futures to life.
Djokovic, French Open Final, 2023
14 x 11 inches
Acrylic on paper
Of this series benefitting reforestation efforts, he notes, “Reforestation is a critical issue and I’m proud to play any role that I can in protecting the environment. I am excited to collaborate with ART FOR CHANGE on this front and knowing that the personal can continue to catalyze change.”
ART FOR CHANGE will plant ten trees for each print sold to support reforestation efforts. As in all series, artists will receive 50% of the net proceeds of print sales.
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