Show Proves Calligraphy Not Just Paper Art Form

Article excerpt

At a calligraphy exhibit, you expect to see exemplary penmanship and beautiful paper. You might not expect to see glass bowls, sculpture and collages.

AlphaMark, a traveling international exhibit, demonstrates the variety and versatility of calligraphic art. The show, now at the Wilson Center, includes 72 pieces by 48 artists from Japan, Canada, South Africa and the United States.

One of the works, Golden Garden, is by Jacksonville artist Bobbi Yoffee.

Besides the gold lettering on black paper, which is a passage from the Old Testament's Song of Songs (Song of Solomon), Yoffee's piece includes handmade paper, thread and gouache, a type of opaque watercolor. Golden Garden reflects her interest in many art forms, especially collage.

"When I framed the piece, it just looked too stark," Yoffee said. "I solved that by extending the paint over the edges of the mat."

AlphaMark is a juried show, which means artists submitted slides of their work to be judged. The best pieces make the cut for exhibition. More than 100 artists sent entries for consideration. Barry Morentz of New York and Eliza Holliday of Fernandina Beach, both of whom teach and exhibit calligraphy nationally and internationally, judged the show.

Holliday, who also has two pieces (Gift of Love and Be) in the show, called Yoffee's work exceptional.

"You usually find that people have beautiful letter form, but they don't have a good sense of design. Or you find that they have good composition and design skills, but their letter form isn't so good. Holliday said. "Bobbi has strengths in both areas."

Yoffee has a bachelor's degree in fine arts design from Harriet Sophie Newcomb Memorial College of Tulane University.

"I had a professor that had studied at Bauhaus in Germany, and he had us do pieces with letters to show us how they are design elements in and of themselves. They have contours and shapes and texture."

Yoffee got hooked and has been studying and working with calligraphy for more than 20 years. …