Email Be Damned!

The United States Postal Service has made it so easy to mail a letter. Why shouldn’t we citizens keep the economically troubled USPS in business? The handy stick-em stamps are much better than the lick-em variety. What’s more the stamp designs have gotten so much better. How can anyone resist peeling a Romare Bearden stamp off its well-designed plate-block and affixing it to a bill, invoice or other mailing vessel. I, for one, enjoy paying bills through the mail, knowing I can do with art and artistry.

Romare Bearden (Forever®) series is indeed among the highlights of this season’s philatelic releases. They include four miniatures of his most moving works:

Conjunction (1971) is a large work showing a Southern social scene, reflecting Bearden’s recollections of his early childhood. The work celebrates the human activity of connecting through touch and conversation, and pays homage to the Southern quilt-making tradition suggested by the fabrics of the women’s brightly patterned dresses.

Odysseus: Poseidon, The Sea God—Enemy of Odysseus (1977) is one of many images by Bearden based on literary sources. Poseidon was the archenemy of Odysseus in Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey; his image here reveals Bearden’s deep exploration of the human condition.

Prevalence of Ritual: Conjur Woman is one of a series of important collages Bearden made in 1964. The power and dignity of the black woman was a central theme in his work, and the spiritual and mysterious “conjur” woman was a recurring subject.

Falling Star (1979) juxtaposes the ordinary, a domestic interior, with the marvelous, as seen through its windows. Bearden uses layers of meaning in this work, addressing universal human experience.


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