New York

Thornton Dial

Ricco / Maresca Gallery

Prior to his simultaneous solo museum shows in 1993, at the New Museum and the Museum of American Folk Art, few outside the relatively insular folk-art world were familiar with the work of Thornton Dial. By the late ’80s, Dial had gained a respectable following for his unique brand of funk assemblage—a homegrown art form that came to be celebrated as emblematic of a Southern, African-American sculptural vernacular. To the horror of folk purists, consistent patronage has allowed Dial to explore media not generally available to a self-taught artist in rural Alabama. Since 1990, he has moved from the backyard to the studio wall, developing a pictorial oeuvre in two complementary arenas: large-scale, ambitious, and powerfully allegorical mixed-media canvases that were the primary focus of his 1993 museum exhibitions, and lyrical works on paper that were featured in his most recent gallery

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