The exhibition “Playing Games: Chance, Skill, and Abstraction” at the Ricco/Maresca gallery presents antique handmade game boards along with contemporary paintings that feature the similar mathematical imagery. Before parlor games were mass-produced artisans hand painted the geometric patterns onto wood boards.
This is late 19th century American Anonymous example of a Parcheesi variation board game employs flat color shapes and rotational symmetry comparable to a 20th century abstract painting.
George Widener has created work that continues that tradition.
“Magic Squares” the mixed media work from 2016 is 16 framed rectangular sheets presented in a 4X4 arrangement. Each one features a number from 1 to 16. The magic is in the arrangement, the numbers in each row, column, and diagonal add up to 34!
The numbers each have a unique background with circles and a series of text of month stamps.