Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Art ain’t about paint. -

-->> ..years back when i was in design,

i  was sometimes compared ( for some reason ), introduced , and transfixed by the work of Thornton Dial Sr.

These classics  reflect merely a few of my favourites when i was studying ::

**IMG SRC                                 
Ladies Hold a Tiger by the Tail, 1991
Charcoal, graphite and oil pastel on paper
22 x 30 inches
Born in 1928 in a tiny town in Sumter County, Alabama, Thornton Dial did not gain recognition as a major artist until the late 1980s. He had always worked with his hands and had made "things" as a young man, and as an adult he was employed as a welder at the Pullman Standard Railroad Car factory in Bessemer. Dial and his wife, Clara, reared five children in the Bessemer community known as "Pipe Shop." The years of difficult work welding railroad cars would prepare Dial well for producing monumental sculpture and assemblages.

In a work by Thornton Dial, one witnesses the intense struggle of the artist to master the demanding materials that he has deliberately acquired to make art. It is this visible tension that characterizes Dial´s three-dimensional works. Equally adept in the media of painting, assemblage, sculpture, and works on paper, Dial creates art that is arresting for its power and insight, and for its visual flights of freedom. Dial´s works can be, by turn, humorous and reflective, and they are always challenging.

Dial is an artist who defies categorization. Early in his career, he was described as a "self-taught" artist who created "vernacular" art. However, the self-assurance of his works, coupled with his heroic vision and determination to fuse the boundaries between painting and sculpture, place him squarely within the arena of contemporary artists who are constantly forging new visual territories. It is this decisiveness that brings his work repeatedly to the attention of writers, collectors, and museums. Dial began to create his complex assemblages relatively late in life, and much of his work is inspired by his response to social and political events. Two of Dial´s sons, Richard and Thornton, Jr., are also artists.

Thornton Dial was featured in the 1998 Whitney Biennial exhibition and his works are included in the permanent collections of the High Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The MFAH recently received a major gift of three works by Dial including Lost Farm (Billy Goat Hill); Freedom, and Cotton Field Sky Still Over My Head.

The Lady and the Rooster, 1991
Charcoal, graphite and oil pastel on paper
22 x 30 inches
 Buffalo Tiger, March 1991
Charcoal, graphite and oil pastel on paper
30 x 44 inches

.. these darker hours make me gravitate even more to the artists i've so needed to shape this freekish existence into something i think i fool myself into having substance. Fool myself into a state of mind where i actually think i fucking matter.

Still .. Thornton is one of those inspernationalists at the core of the DNA in the art of this freek typing this.

"Art ain’t about paint. It ain’t about canvas. It’s about ideas. Too many people died without ever getting their mind out to the world. I have found how to get my ideas out and I won’t stop. I got ten thousand left."

- Thornton Dial



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