Andrew Edlin Gallery is pleased to present Thornton Dial: Viewpoint of the Foundry Man, on view from November 10 – December 29, 2012. The exhibition features approximately fifteen of the artist’s renowned mixed media assemblages, created over the last 3 years. An exhibition catalogue is available and features “Coming Back Clear,” an essay by Karen Wilkin along with a preface by Phillip March Jones.
Thornton Dial’s life has been forged on the hard edge of labor. From handling mules on his cousin’s farm in Alabama, at age five, to his years as a machinist at the Pullman Standard factory building train cars, Dial has developed an ethos of hard work, ingenuity, and fierce independence. Nowhere has this been more evident than in his art.
Dial’s work has historically focused on major social, cultural, political, and economic issues. He has addressed the complex and multilayered subjects of civil rights, women’s rights, and the plight of the poor, and has examined tragedies like the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and the war in Iraq. His work has been a tireless advocate of society’s underdogs, giving voice to the disenfranchised.
Dial, at the age of eighty-four, is in the midst of creating a visual autobiography commemorating the people, places, and events that have shaped his own life. These new works are smaller in scale but not in vision. They take us back to the artist’s boyhood spent in the fields, barns, and homes of rural Emelle, in the western Alabama farmlands. They witness the growth and proliferation of factories, foundries, and mills near Birmingham, which for decades had employed Dial, his brother, and his sons. They take us into the iron and ore mines, but also into Dial’s family life and most intimate thoughts. These paintings are steeped in personal memories of how things once were, from a perspective that only longevity can provide.
Thornton Dial’s art has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions including at The New Museum of American Art, New York (1993), The American Folk Art Museum, New York (1993), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2005). His work was also included in the Whitney Biennial in 2000.
A traveling retrospective hosted by the Indianapolis Museum of Art titled Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, opens at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta on November 1, 2012. The National Academy Museum, New York, will also be featuring Dial’s art in Seismic Shifts: Ten Visionaries in Contemporary Art and Architecture, from January 5 – May 13, 2013. On view (concurrent to the show at Edlin) at James Fuentes is Lizzi Bougatsos and Thornton Dial: I'm Not Pregnant, from November 9 – December 21, 2012