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The art of writing

Two calligraphy exhibits at the Dunedin Fine Art Center showcase modern techniques as well as traditional and ancient styles.

By BRANDY STARK, Times Correspondent

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 8, 2001


The Dunedin Fine Art Center is hosting two shows that feature calligraphy, one an international exhibition, the other a collection of Florida artists.

The "AlphaMark" show, works by members of the Association for the Calligraphic Arts, displays 72 pieces by 48 artists from nations including the United States, Canada, Japan and South Africa.

It shows the wide variety of mediums modern calligraphers use: Marcia Smith created Dreams with stoneware, glaze and gold luster. In Akenaten, Gwen Weaver uses pencils to make the delicately shaded letters in an ancient quote describing an Egyptian pharaoh. Judy Kastin uses sterling silver as her medium in Alphabet Broach, highlighting the first four letters of the alphabet, forged in an oversized triangular style. Chai-Fantasia Alphabetic, created with watercolor, gold leaf and ink by Karny Rivlin Vorona, is a whimsical look at calligraphy with wide colored curves hosting free-flowing letters, some of them imaginary.

Traditional styles are also represented. Cari Buziak takes an excerpt from a medieval manuscript in The Book of Hours, intricately rendered in 23-karat gold leaf, ink and egg tempera.

"A Millennium of Writing," in the art center's Meta B. Brown Gallery, includes a range of works that attempt to draw a parallel between modern and ancient writing. Christine Renc employs wood sculpture and mixed media for Memoirs of 21. Viewers are invited to walk inside the boothlike sculpture to interact with images of sign language, Braille and her own handwriting in an intimate setting. Next to this is Letters, by Kaye Hanna, who layers photography and pen and ink images through use of computer manipulation.

Calligraphy dates back about 1,500 years, to illustrated manuscripts, often incorporating sophisticated illustrations, first created in the 5th century.

In the modern era, calligraphy is used in diplomas and announcements, business, advertising and even as custom artworks for collectors.

"It's a disciplined craft requiring many hours of practice to gain skill," said Linda Renc, the exhibition's director, herself a calligraphy teacher and the mother of artist Christine Renc.

"Calligraphy fans are coming from as far away as Orlando and Fort Myers to see the exhibitions," Linda Renc said. "It's a great way to learn more about a little-known art form."

Review

"AlphaMark" and "A Millennium of Writing" at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, 1143 Michigan Blvd. Free admission. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call (727) 298-3322.

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