|Addison/Ripley Fine Art is very pleased to present, in cooperation with the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a collection of recent works on paper by celebrated Alabama artist Thornton Dial.
Born in 1928 and raised in poverty in the rural South, Thornton Dial spent his childhood toiling in the fields of western Alabama. For many years he worked as a laborer in the region’s heavy industry.
Dial was a steel welder for much of his professional career. His monumental sculptures are elaborate metal structures adorned with, sometimes covered by, painted fabric and found objects such as dolls, mannequin parts, and animal bones. In the sculptural relief surfaces of his mixed media paintings, Dial weaves fibers, sometimes carpet or clothing doused in paint, into undulating net-like lattices that seem to appear and disappear on the canvas. His geometric patterning and bold colors are contemporary while also relating to traditional African-American quilt making. These works on paper echo the bold, direct style of his earlier three dimensional assemblages.
Dial’s work is included in private and museum collections across the country such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the Milwaukee Museum of Art, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He has had solo exhibitions at major museums including a joint exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art and the American Folk Art Museum in New York in 1993, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 2005, and was featured in the 2000 Whitney Biennial. In February 2011, the Indianapolis Museum of Art will premiere the touring exhibition Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial. The most extensive survey of the artist’s work ever mounted, it will include over fifty large-scale paintings, sculptures, and wall assemblages.
Throughout the years, Dial has made a variety of works through which he commented on the human spectacle. His creations began to receive attention from the established art world in the mid-1980s. Since then, his work has been exhibited and collected by some of the nation’s most important art institutions. A Time magazine article by Richard Lacayo in 2011 gives important insight into Dial’s work.