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Charles Burchfield’s handwriting inspires new exhibition in The Buffalo News

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Over the past 20 years, designer and Western New York Book Arts Center co-founder Richard Kegler has produced a series of popular typefaces based on the handwriting of famous artists. It all began with a student project in 1994, part of which involved producing a font that convincingly mimicked the handwriting of Marcel Duchamp. As word of Kegler’s skill at reproducing the peculiar styles of famous artists spread, he went on to create popular typefaces based on the writing of Joan Miró, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and many others.

Kegler’s latest artist-based project, commissioned by the Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.) was to create a new typeface based on the handwriting of Charles E. Burchfield. The new typeface, along with samples of work from the Buffalo-based P22 Type Foundry and its many artistic collaborators, goes on view Friday in the Burchfield Penney’s exhibition “Richard Kegler/P22 Type Foundry: Charles E. Burchfield (The Font Project),” on view through May 17. The Burchfield Penney holds more than 10,000 pages of Burchfield’s handwritten journals, many of which served as the source material for the project.

“Charles Burchfield’s handwriting could be considered less than optimal in terms of legibility and traditional aesthetics,” Kegler said in a statement. “However, the Charles Burchfield font possesses a genuine, simple charm that is rarely seen in digitized versions of handwriting.”

The show’s opening, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, will coincide with the Burchfield Penney’s monthly free Second Fridays event. The evening also will feature a hands-on collage-making workshop from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and a musical performance by Carina and the Six String Preacher. Admission is free on Friday, or $5 to $10 thereafter. Call 878-6011 or visit