Games in painting: playing with society
Caravaggio’s card-sharps, Hogarth’s gin-steeped gamblers, and the chess, dice and backgammon players in paintings of the Dutch Golden Age each encapsulate something of the social tensions of their age. As immoral excess, bawdy intemperance, and general impropriety follow those who engage in games of chance and skill, so their fortunes unravel across the surface of a canvas. But as well as impressing the morals of their time through their artworks, artists have often used the image of the game and gameplayer to probe more intricate social imbalances: between the powerful and the impoverished, wise elder and arrogant youth, religious tradition and radical reinvention.
In this lecture, Alice White will explore the role of games and game-players across the history of fine art. She will reveal how they feature in different cultures and time periods, and will interpret what they represent. There will be an (optional) immersive aspect to this lecture, as game enthusiasts will be invited to participate in a round of Art Bingo. This game has been designed specifically for the lecture, as a limited edition piece by the lecturer (and artist) Alice White. There will be a prize for the winner, and all who join in will become creators of a collaborative artwork, proving that there is more to a game than winning.
Alice White is a professional oil painter, and an Associate Lecturer in painting and drawing at Central St Martins College of Art & Design. Her solo show, entitled ‘A New Wave’ documented her year’s residency as Artist for Animals at ZSL London Zoo. Her work was recently included in the RSMA Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries. She has also exhibited at the Music Room in Mayfair, Kingly Court in Carnaby Street, and the Affordable Art Fair in New York and London.