The art of Thornton Dial can make most contemporary painting appear contrived and precious. On discovering his paintings it becomes obvious that Dial does not simply decide to ‘paint’ or make paintings … these are paintings that have to be made. The work controls the artist and defies him at every stage of the process. One can sense that when Dial is at work that anything can be used in the making process. It is conceivable that the shirt off his back or the shoes off his feet could be given a new role in one of his paintings. His expanded approach to painting has seen him use a diverse range of materials and approaches, to include: wall assemblages made from salvaged animal bones, plastic funeral flowers and toys. The 82 years old Alabama native is the subject of his first survey exhibition Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Posted by Paul Doran