Mailed masterpieces get stamp of approval from Underground 

Sarah Hearn is a studious participant and collector of mail art, which is simply slapping a stamp on a work of art and sending it through the mail.

Hearn started taking part in mail art after college as a way to keep in touch with friends, and has assembled the "Four Letter Word L*O*V*E" exhibit at the Invited Artist Gallery "? which she also curates "? in The Underground below downtown.

Debuted on Valentine's Day, the exhibit features colorful mail art from all over the world.

"With the Internet, we are used to everything being instant, but there is sterility with communicating online," she said. "With mail art, you get a real sense of who the person is who's sending this to you."

FREEDOM
Mail art isn't a sketch stuffed in an envelope; mail art is the envelope. The art needs the postage stamp and the signs of wear and tear it suffered on its way across the country. The work isn't just for the eyes of the addressed receiver; it's for every handler along the way to enjoy.    
 
"Artists need to become resigned to the fact that the art is not theirs to keep," Hearn said. "They're sending it off so they might try to do things you wouldn't do otherwise. Maybe you don't censor yourself as much. It can be anonymous, it can be a pen name, and there is something freeing to that."

"?Charles Martin

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