There’s something unnerving about tennis. In its relentlessly middle-class microcosm – a world of scarily starched whites and passive aggressive line calls (“It looked on the line to me Rosemary”) – the usual rules of society tend to get somewhat skewed but it takes an insider to get underneath the outwardly respectable veneer.
Step forward then American painter/illustrator Jennie Ottinger whose new show in Dallas takes us tight in amongst the tennis world, where the lawns are as perfectly-manicured as the nails. Her wonderful creations have something of a Ralph Steadman quality as she allows her loose style to glory in the grotesqueries she identifies. Amid the more peaceful scenes of group lessons there’s enough braying, snarling faces to suggest what Jennie really makes of it all.
The centrepiece of the show is an animation charting the underhand rise to the top of a wheelchair tennis team in which we are treated to a side of Jennie’s talents we hadn’t previously come across.
Game, set and match tennis – you just got owned.