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Sports in Art. From basketball to skateboard and swimming, Kooness celebrates games and leisure through 10 artworks representing an array of sports. 

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Both if you are a watcher or a participant, sports inspire and make people feel alive everyday. Described as an alternative form of art, sport is a hyperbole to creative expression, emotion and freedom. Thanks to the movement and dynamism involved, all performances instantly become thought-provoking and stimulating, especially to artists. The aesthetic of sports stands in the context of it, too. For example, the equipment and landscapes make it familiar and representative, denoting a particular time period, sport festival or nation. Fitting examples of this could be vintage ski suits and wooden skis, the Olympic games or Karate.

Sport unleashes emotions on two extreme opposites. In the former case, triumph, joy, bliss, and lots of dopamine. In the latter, tragedy, defeat, and anger. From summer to winter, leisure and competition, here are some of the best sports-themed artworks available on Kooness. 

In these artworks, the Spanish artist Gloria Estefanell uses paint to depict miniature sportsters skiing or golfing. Estefanell concentrates on characteristic postures to express the sport at full circle. By using the signature shades of the activity, the environment stands out. Estefanell dedicated her career to Olympic Sports for a long time, before embracing her knowledge, and transferring it onto canvas. The professional career of the artist has been closely related to design and the sports sphere. “My hope is that just by looking at my paintings you enjoy this amazing sport.” 

GLORIA ESTEFANELL,144 golfers, 2021. Courtesy of Whistler Contemporary Gallery
Paolo Canevari, Olympic Circles, 2000. Courtesy of Cardi Gallery

In this artwork, the competitive and entertaining aspect of sports is brought to light. The Olympic games are an international sports festival, held every four years to celebrate human talent. The artist celebrates the Olympic games through five black wheels placed on top of each other instead of the well-known five multicolour rings intertwined with each other. The branding remains recognizable despite the monochrome and misplaced objects. The wheels represent other forms of sports or other means to practice sports. 

Byron Ashley. Basketball Hoop, 2021. Courtesy of Cerbera Gallery

Byron Ashley is an American artist who explores how politics, media and pop-culture has an impact on the American populace. The artist goal is to show different sides of the American culture and behaviour. The painting “Basketball Hoop” symbolizes victory and a winning game – both figuratively and literally. The artist uses a representation of the country, basketball, i.e. the most watched and practiced sport across fifty-two states, to interpret his thoughts; “I believe America has a unique culture, one that is shaped by its colonial past and greatly influenced by our cut-throat capitalist system. America is caught in a continual paradox of low and high moral grounding. While being a shining beacon of hope and a leader in the international community, America has committed countless atrocities at home and abroad”. The artist uses feverish colours to evoke an emotional response. 

BENJAMIN ANDERSON, Fuschia Dip, 2022. Courtesy of Whistler Contemporary Gallery

Benjamin Anderson is an artist from Florida who sets his artworks in water. The main element’s – water – intense shades and motion take the lead in his artwork. The painting shows two juxtaposed paces and momentums within the water and the swimmer. This results in a gentle yet vigorous scene. The water is bustling around the swimmer and it becomes darker as it gets further away – giving a feeling of unknown. Despite the woman being underwater and not being able to breathe, the artwork gives a sense of relief and relaxation, like a dip in the ocean.  

ANDRE MONET, Sky High, 2022. Courtesy of Whistler Contemporary Gallery

The artist Andre Monet is inspired by natural connection and sense for the current society and his era. His well-known conceptual assemblage of colour exudes an eccentric and empowered vibe. The artwork sparks triumph and freedom. The flying skier makes a still image move. The sunshine, blue sky and mountains are visible through the mosaic. 

Karine Bartoli, Skaters24, 2021. Courtesy of Galerie Bruno Massa

This artwork represents skater culture. Skater culture often occurs in cities and locations near the sea or ocean. In fact, the artwork by the artist Karine Bartoli shows a summer-like landscape. The sport has a very unique lifestyle and routine. Identity, originality and attitude are key to a skater’s lifestyle. Since the very beginning of the skateboard era in the blooming West Coast, skaters have blended a lifestyle to a style and a sport. 

Representations of athletes and athletic endeavours from over two epochs around the world can be found in many artworks, and can be a way to observe society’s follies and foibles. Make sure you check out the sport-themed artworks on Kooness!

Cover image: GLORIA ESTEFANELL, 121 Skier in 30 colours, 2022. Courtesy of Whistler Contemporary Gallery

Written by Sveva Berto

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