Art: Making Cheerful Symmetry

George Ortman spent five years making a chess set. He took time because he wanted the playing pieces to be symbols of themselves. The bishop was simple to design—a cross. The rook was square for solidity; the king was a diamond for a regal quality; the queen was a circle for femininity; the pawns were arrows for their singleness of direction. Ortman gave the knight the shape of a heart, for "it is impulsive and moves erratically."

Chess is an orderly, symbolic game, as Ortman, 37, is a man who makes orderly, symbolic art. "I grew up amid action painters," he...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!