English Football

The whistle blows to get arty

Patterns of PlayArt and football have never been especially comfortable bedfellows, but increasingly, creativity and the beautiful game are going hand-in-hand to the art gallery.

There are a number of artists that have developed a unique approach to recording the world’s favourite sport – Paine Proffit, for example, has brought a touch of art deco to the sport, while Ben Mosley is clearly influenced by greats like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

Anyone who has seen the US-produced Eight by Eight magazine will be aware that they have used art to spectacular effect to create a very visually appealing publication.

An exhibition is currently taking place in Norwich called Patterns of Play at the Moosey Art Gallery. Admission is free and you have until September 12 to catch a glimpse of some very striking work.

It’s being billed as “An exhibition of football art, design and culture”. It captures the mood of the moment – for example, the rise of the women’s game is represented by a comic book painting of Fran Kirby by Scott McRoy and local club, Norwich City’s manager Alex Neil is immortalised by Dave Flanagan’s work, complete with a canary trying to take on the guise of an eagle. There’s plenty to intrigue the Norwich City fan, with a homage to the club’s win against Bayern Munich back in the 1990s (Scott McRoy) and a very poignant impression of Justin Fashanu (Marcuss Maritt).

Stoo Elvin’s English Football Champions has traces of Mondrian, while John Scarratt’s Cantona Flying Kick has a hint of Edward Hopper in its mood.

My favourite is King Sep by Zoran Lucic, a defaced picture of Mr Blatter with scrawls claiming his innocence: “I am not a crook.” And the Homage to Local Amateur Football will appeal to non-league fans – Diss Town, Bungay Town, Wroxham and Cromer Town are all featured.

We’re used to artists on the field of play – Patterns of Play reminds us that there is talent on the terraces (if you can find them) and stands of the nation’s football grounds. Catch it while you can.

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