Handwriting on the Wall
Renowned for his innovations, Thornton Dial developed an unprecedented style by fusing gestural virtuosity with a spiritual commitment to found materials—a panoply of cast-off goods and items considered valueless or broken. Drawing on traditions not taught in formal institutions—the yard shows of the American South, patchwork quilting, and the gospel church—he created a visual and narrative language that reframes important moments in world history and encapsulates the Black experience in the American South during the artist’s lifetime. The resulting works balance personal, cultural, and universal meanings to give voice and imagery to systemic inequities both past and present. This retrospective exhibition takes viewers on a journey backwards in time through twenty-eight years of Dial’s career painting venerated retellings of Black American history—from slavery to Jim Crow and through the election of the first Black president.
artworks from a solo exhibition at Blum and Poe Gallery
2727 S La Cienega Blvd,
April 29 – June 10, 2023