The Color of Zen Golf

Olga and The Bolla BoysThe Colors of (Zen) Golf

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The Colors of (Zen) Golf

“For a short period several years ago, internationally known artist, Olga Stamatiou, moved from her beloved island home near Athens, Greece, to a spot close to the Mecca of the golf world, in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Living within easy driving distance of over a hundred golf courses, where one can play, literally three hundred sixty-five days a year, she watched the ebb and flow of bag-carrying devotees, much like the tides near her studio on Coosaw Island. Having never played golf and inspired by a random NetFlix choice, Robert Redford’s iconic Bagger Vance, Olga set out to discover more about the intriguing relationship between the player and the environment, about the quest for the perfect swing. Just what it is that inspires hundreds of thousands of Americans to rise early and hit a little ball over thousands of acres of green turf. She read the books, walked the courses, and talked to the golfers, and curiously, she was inspired not to play golf but to paint it. On the one hand, the result is a vibrant collection of colorful and curious images. A giant golf ball hovers like an alien invader over a hushed sea of anticipating umbrellas. An eerie and fanciful nightscape reveals bubble-like balls dancing on a dual teed green. Contented cattle steadfastly observe a ball in its “lie” while a dubious-looking crow eyes a surefire hole-in-one. There is a sly, ironic tone here, a tongue-in-cheek message telling us not to take the game too seriously, nor life, for that matter. But on the other hand, the palette softens, the mood becomes more romantic, and the figures hark back to an earlier time when life was simpler, less cluttered, less complicated. There is an almost mystical quality about these lone golfers, conveying a feeling of timelessness; here we are truly “in the zone,” where vision extends over the horizon and focus is effortless. There is somehow complete freedom from the world’s stress and anxiety in all of Olga’s golf scenes, presented with an edgy quirkiness and a whimsical twist. She understands the challenge: it is the struggle against oneself. It is one person striving to be the best they can be under the watchful eye of Mother Nature, regardless of the gallery. Olga helps us to understand that golf truly is a metaphor for life’s rhythms and life’s ways.”
By Ann Courmouzis

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