“The Prevalence of Ritual: Baptism,” 1964, Romare Bearden

“The Prevalence of Ritual: Baptism”, 1964, Romare Bearden

The phrase “prevalence of ritual” was first used in relation to three 1964 collages: Conjur Woman as an Angel, Tidings, and Baptism.

In a 1969 article, “Rectangular Structure in my Montage Paintings,” Bearden explained his approach in making collages: “In most instances in creating a picture, I use many disparate elements to form a figure, or part of a background….I feel that when some photographic detail, such as a hand or an eye, is taken out of its original context and is fractured and integrated into a different space and form configuration, it acquires a plastic quality it did not have in the original….”