Charles Pearce: Lined up at Laman | Rock Candy

Charles Pearce: Lined up at Laman

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Pearces Solitude
  • Pearce's "Solitude"

Charles Pearce — born in England, living in Eureka Springs — combines calligraphy with paint "in a vain attempt to have calligraphic work more widely accepted by the fine art fraternity." So says the news release from the Laman Public Library, which opens a new exhibition, "The Painted Word: Calligraphic Paintings by Charles Pearce" today.

Pearce is the author of "The Little Manual of Calligraphy" and "The Anatomy of Letters," and is also a ceramicist.

As a print person with a (really ancient) background in art, I'm a fan of fonts, and how letters can express mood. But the reason the piece above ("Solitude") works for me — and it gets more interesting the more I look at it — is that the letters function as abstract form, marks across the picture plane.

When I think of calligraphy and art, and in fact this is something I've actually thought about, I think of former Arkansas State University professor and artist Evan Lindquist. His lines are calligraphic without being alphabetical. For example (more on the jump):

Lindquist engraving
  • Lindquist engraving

And Lindquist reminds me of Al Hirschfeld, the great New York caricaturist whose work in the New Yorker (and publicity for "My Fair Lady") will be remembered by readers of a certain age:

Hirschfeld self-portrait
  • Hirschfeld self-portrait

And I believe I've exhausted that subject for now. The Pearce show runs through March 13.

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