A former bricklayer, carpenter, and welder, Thornton Dial is an Alabama-based, self-taught artist known for his masterful assemblages and paintingsand his paintings are, in effect, wall-mounted assemblages. Featuring scavenged debris organized “formally” to aesthetic effect, his work derives from “yard art” or “yard shows”groupings of junk, the leftovers of life, displayed on the front lawn. This exhibition, the artist’s first in New York in more than ten years, coincides with “Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial,” a traveling presentation of his work that debuted at the Indianapolis Museum of Art last February.
Addressing struggles for equality on the part of women and African Americans, as well as subjects such as bigotry and war, Dial’s work can be situated within the tradition of American protest art. Big, brash, and turbulent, his works here first and foremost
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