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Oscar B. Oscar

Chinese Coal Workers Playing Cards
oil on linen
48 x 60

In Jingdezhen, China, we see workers on lunch break from coal processing in a small factory, enjoying a card game as passers-by from the neighborhood look on. The scene could have happened yesterday or a century ago. It is a good-natured battle of wits and nerve, witnessed by familiar grownups and children. Children are welcomed as curious observers and tolerated if they are bored. Surely, a few spectators fear that a family breadwinner at the table might lose money. The Jingdezhen scene is based on my brief encounter with the cardplayers during a walk. Within minutes, I perceived a whole world there, hence my painting. It falls in the western tradition of observing scenes of daily life, work, leisure, humanity. The mood is sober, as if playtime has been earned by hard work. Its focus is intimate, oriented towards family, neighbors and friends. There is no explicit reference to ambient Chinese society.

This painting was displayed in
"O O Oscar!", a solo show at Lawrence Street Gallery, March 2014.


chinese coal workers playing cards, while others watched them