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"Reverent Writings: Scribed Cultural Journals"
2001-03-02 until 2001-04-24
Columbus College of Art and Design
Columbus, OH, USA United States of America

Reverent Writings features nearly 300 examples of beautiful writing revealed as a form of artistry from a variety of cultures, epochs, and styles. From early medieval manuscripts to contemporary works of calligraphy, this exhibit shows how cultures go beyond mere words to express, record, and immortalize their existence.

In stark contrast to how we communicate today through e-mail, voice mail, and computer-generated greeting cards, viewers will be taken back to times when superior craftsmanship and embellishment were used to convey the emotion and beauty of the message. Ever since we first began to scratch symbols into tablets of clay, we have labored to record everything from the mundane to the monumental. Representing numerous races, creeds, and religions, Reverent Writings reveals the many ways in which different cultures have aesthetically recorded that which they hold sacred.

One of the means used to reverently express text, calligraphy attempts to bring words to life and to invest them with character and expression. Reverent Writings features letterforms found in medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, mystic writings, rugs, letterpress books and typography, lettering instruction guides, personal correspondence, and art objects from The Ohio State University Libraries' Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection, Columbus Museum of Art, the Ohio Historical Society, and a number of generous individual lenders.

Exhibit patrons will be able to compare calligraphy and typography from many cultures and diverse times. Included are a Holocaust Torah (rescued from Czechoslovakia during Nazi occupation) and other Judaical writing, along with rugs, wall hangings, and scrolls showing Indian, Middle Eastern (Armenian and Persian), and Asian craftsmanship. Placed with poetry and painting among the foremost arts, calligraphy is still reverenced throughout Asia from ancient manuscripts in galleries to the commercial signage of everyday usage. Farsi seen in a calligraphic style in Persian rugs will convey the energy of words and shapes chosen to convey artistic and religious messages in Islamic culture. Works by contemporary calligraphers will show how the art form has evolved to incorporate and reflect modern culture.

The diversity of American culture emerges through the broad spectrum of work by self-taught artists. American folk art by Elijah Pierce and William Hawkins will be included, as well as charming examples of Pennsylvania German Fraktur records, baptismal certificates, bookplates, house blessings, schoolmasters' rewards, lesson plans, arithmetic books and valentines.

The letterforms in early printed books were created by a technique rooted in sculpture and based directly on the hand lettering fashions of the time and place. The impression of the printed image against the texture of paper made from rags produced a most tactile and visual image, and examples of such letterpress works will be on display.

The work of Rick Cusick, noted calligrapher and designer for Hallmark Cards, Inc. and art director of Letter Art Review magazine will also be on display. Cusick will present and discuss his work in CCAD's Visiting Artist Series, April 9 from noon-1:30 p.m. in the Canzani Center. CCAD's Visiting Artist Series is free and open to the public.

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