(NOBLESVILLE, Ind.) – 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.
“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 attend each year. Many of those visitors will see five pieces from Merchent’s Ballerinas on the Green as they pass through the Augusta Airport.
Merchent’s passion for sports, 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 that is managed by Billy Casper Golf, its namesake having won the 1970 Masters Tournament.
“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 is the first to approach fine art photography pairing ballerinas and golfers together on a golf course. She 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.
“To start with, the poses she caught of the golfers and dancers are beautiful and the colors spectacular,” said Indiana PGA Executive Director, Mike David, one of the first to view the artwork. “But I was overwhelmed by the similarities between dance and golf. 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.”
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).