Romare Bearden

An Artist Remembers His Birthplace

 September 10 - November 12, 2011

 

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Romare Bearden’s birth, Jerald Melberg Gallery presents a major exhibition of over forty collages, watercolors and prints featuring the artist’s memories of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

Romare Bearden was born in his great-grandfather's house in Charlotte, NC, on the morning of September 2, 1911. Although at the time this was the rural south, his family was prosperous and well respected. At the age of two, Bearden moved with his parents to New York City where they felt there was more opportunity to pursue their interests in journalism and politics. Bearden's memories of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina were ingrained during summer-long visits until he was 14. These memories were the subject of his art as he wanted to transform his experiences rather than merely describe them. I am trying to explore the particulars of the life that I know best; those things common to all cultures, he once said. Drawing upon the recollections of his Southern roots for inspiration, he conjured up both his own childhood memories and the shared memories of his ancestors. Bearden absorbed the traditional rituals of the church, the hymns and gospels, sermons and testimonies; as well as the traditional rituals of the family, the music of the kitchen, the wash place and fire circle, which permeated his upbringing.