Tennis and Contemporary Abstract Painting

Tennis and Contemporary Abstract Painting

There is a very curious parallel between Tennis and Contemporary Abstract Painting. As an Abstract Painter who plays tennis nearly daily, I have noticed certain correspondences that neither Tennis Players nor Abstract Painters put into position, but nevertheless are present in both. A tennis court is a specified rectangle of a certain size with clearly remarked end points. Most abstract paintings are done on rectangular formats and not dizzy edged canvases or flobby pillow like surfaces. A Tennis Player is very aware of the edges of the court, just as an Abstract Painter is aware of the edges of the canvas. A Tennis Player is aware of the space between things: the space between ball and net, the ball and player, ball and Self and, particularly, if a ball is rocketing toward their head at 150 mph. An Abstract Painter is very aware of the space between things: aware of the center of the canvas, the edges of the canvas and the two and three-dimensional aspects of forms moving through space. Tennis players are forms who move through space; they know not where they may next move, though sometimes there is a several second awareness of where they should move if they can get there. An Abstract Painter has a similar built-in system of awareness of where they should move, or rather: where a form painted in free space should move and where the space around a form should move and shift in some fashion. Tennis is, in many ways, a very abstract set of agreements and circumstances. Players agree to abide by a set of rules. The court has...