In case you hadn’t heard, artwork created at Purgatory Golf Club is going to be on display at the Augusta Regional Airport from April 1, 2018 through June 30th, which means it will be there during the Masters golf tournament. Augusta Regional Airport is the local commercial airport in Augusta Georgia, home of the Masters. Below is the story we prepared and sent out to the press.
Award-winning Noblesville artist, Christine Merchent’s body of work, Ballerinas on the Green will be featured at the Augusta Regional Airport during the 2018 Masters Tournament. Ballerinas on the Green is a fine art photography series that combines classical ballet themes on a golf course backdrop.
Merchent and Augusta Regional Airport Communications Manager, Lauren Smith, had several conversations in 2017 about Merchent’s unique body of work, Ballerinas on the Green. The Airport’s Art Committee selected Merchent’s work to be featured April – June, which means it will be on display during the Masters Tournament April 2 through April 8th.
“The Augusta Regional Airport is thrilled to have Mrs. Merchent’s work on display during Masters week. Her portrait style will not only attract attention from golf fans, but the dance community as well. The Airport Art Committee thought the Airport would be the perfect venue to highlight her creative talent,” said Lauren Smith, spokesperson for the Augusta Regional Airport.
Augusta National does not release ticket sales, but it is estimated that over 250,000 visitors to attend each year. Many of those visitors will see 5 pieces from Merchent’s Ballerinas on the Green as they pass through the Augusta Airport.
Merchent’s passion for sports, and particularly golf, comes from spending countless hours watching and photographing her son who plays golf for Noblesville High School. Merchent and her husband own Purgatory Golf Club.
It is a dream come true for Merchent to be part of one of professional golf’s major championships. In the art world, this is the ‘green jacket,’ so to speak. The Masters Tournament is the first major of the year and is held at the same location every year, the Augusta National Golf Club. The other three professional major championships are held at different locations every year.
Just like the ever-changing Augusta National course, the art world has also changed and shifted over the last 85 years. Merchent is the first to approach fine art photography pairing ballerinas and golfers together on a golf course.
“The golf course is my studio. Replacing golfers with ballerinas makes it a fantasy. But because every other element in the art is so true to the game, it feels like it could happen. The project as a whole also highlighted two very different junior sports,” Merchent said.
Merchent studied over 21,000 junior golf images to develop the stories that she brought to life with the project. The body of work features Noblesville High School golfers and local ballerinas all shot at Purgatory Golf Club.
Indiana PGA Executive Director, Mike David, was one of the first to view the artwork. “To start with, the poses she caught of the golfers and dancers are beautiful and the colors spectacular. But I was overwhelmed by the similarities between dance and golf. Seeing the similarities from a grace and athleticism stand point, I found most interesting. At first, I was kind of taken aback by how two totally opposite sports are on the same playing field. But the more you look the more you see the grace and beauty and how the two naturally tie together. You have a whole new understanding and appreciation of both sports. It does almost seem natural, having the two together,” said Indiana PGA Executive Director, Mike David.
Ron Kern, Golf Course Architect of Purgatory Golf Club, who is also a photographer says, “Christine Merchent’s photographs captures the essence and spirit of two quite different pursuits, the art of ballet and the game of golf. Merchent’s body of work blends ballet and golf into a beautiful tandem through intelligent visualization and a sympathetic and creative use of light.”
Merchent was named the 2017 Nickel Plate Arts Artist of the Year and was also juried into the prestigious 2017 Center Santa Fe Review. In 2014, Merchent was recognized as a Top Ten Photographer in the state of Indiana that was awarded by the Indianapolis Professional Photographer’s Guild, and the Indiana State Fair for overall print case score. In 2015, she was recognized by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) International Photographic Competition (IPC).
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