Thornton Dial, “Stars of Everything”, 2004. Photo credit: Souls Grown Deep
Today I’m highlighting an artist I wrote about for my second site TONDI.
TONDI hosts digital exhibitions and explores broader social themes relating to contemporary art, music and design. I recently wrote a piece about Thornton Dial that was a commentary on how arts writers categorized him as an artist, but for purposes of this post, I’ll keep it simple. His work was amazing. An excerpt from the post:
“Dial’s career spanned 30 years and included numerous solo shows in New York galleries. He was featured in the 2000 Whitney Biennial, had a major retrospective at the IMA, and museums including the Met, the MFA Houston and the American Folk Art Museum include his work in their collections.
To me what was interesting about Thornton Dial was that his artistic career began when his first career ended. Dial was a railroad car metal fabricator at the Pullman Standard plant in Birmingham, Alabama. In his spare time he collected and repurposed objects into “things” that he never considered art. He pursued his creative practice full time after the Pullman plant closed, and when his work caught the attention of a prominent collector in Atlanta, Dial’s artistic career began to take off.
His work has roots in African visual and oral traditions that were transformed to withstand the oppression of slavery and Jim Crow. Some of these artistic and cultural mediums include quilting, southern yard art and collage.”
Thornton Dial’s art is a beautiful representation of a southern tradition of expression and communication with a story and history that continues to unfold.
For more on Thornton Dial
For more info on southern Yard Art
The “Artist a Day Challenge” celebrates Black History Month by highlighting Black artists and diverse forms of cultural expression across the African diaspora.