Thornton Dial


This exhibition, a selection of canvases spanning three decades, is the first presentation of Thornton Dial’s work since he died earlier this year. The self-taught artist made assemblages with scrap materials he found at his job as a metalworker. The current show focuses on his textile-based work, which alludes to African-American quilting traditions, and in its frequent use of muted, muddled shades of red, white, and blue relays his concern with the social and political. We All Live Under the Same Old Flag (2008) is exemplary in this regard. Long, torn strips of canvas strips cluster on the painted surface, with red and blue pigments bleeding onto the unprimed fabric. The whole contorts as it accommodates the individual pieces, which are themselves fraying at the seams. —Brian Droitcour


Pictured: Thornton Dial: We All Live Under the Same Old Flag, 2008, mixed mediums on wood, 96 by 96 by 4½ inches. Courtesy Marianne Boesky, New York.