Artistic Giant - Thornton Dial - at Bill Lowe Gallery

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Dial's discovery by respected collector, curator, and scholar, Bill Arnett, has become the fodder of modern legend. The legacy that they have co-created promises to be the bedrock for an important new chapter in not only American but global art history as well.

Dial is increasingly regarded as the most important African-American artist in history. More broadly, his tireless advocacy of society's underdogs gives voice to the historically disenfranchised thus placing him amongst the greatest artists of all time.

Thornton Dial rose to national prominence in the late 1980s due to his magnificently complex assemblages that narrate an unspoken story not yet heard in our culture; they serve as a chronicle of Dial’s insights into human relationships during a turbulent era in American history; one which spanned the decades of the Jim Crow South and extend into the socio-cultural, political, economic and spiritual struggles that characterize our time. Dial’s life has been defined by hard labor; this informs his assemblages constructed of organic and industrial materials, embedded with a kaleidoscopic array of found elements. His gestural and raw aesthetic draws inspiration from the landscape, both literal and metaphorical, and transforms its discarded media into an iconographic language that represents and reforms tradition.

Hard Truths, his recent traveling exhibition, mounted by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and then later displayed in the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, was a curatorial tour de force that is re-writing art history. This much-heralded retrospective has attracted powerful critical and curatorial support from around the world, adding still more momentum to his trajectory and status in the global art arena. Time Magazine devoted a five-page story to this breathtaking exhibition, The New York Times gave him a full-page review, and CNN featured him in a segment that commented on his new-found status as the peer of Anselm Kiefer, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Koonig and Robert Rauschenberg. The Wall Street Journal added another remarkable accolade by ranking the show as one of five noteworthy exhibits in America in 2011. A recent, seminal article in The New Yorker further added to the ever-expanding conversation about his monumental talent.

Dial is increasingly regarded as the most important African-American artist in history. More broadly, his tireless advocacy of society's underdogs gives voice to the historically disenfranchised thus placing him amongst the greatest artists of all time.

About Bill Lowe Gallery: Bill Lowe Gallery has been recognized for a quarter-century as the South’s pre-eminent contemporary gallery. It is widely acclaimed for the depth and scope of its program, curatorial excellence, and concentration on content-driven work by artists with an advanced technical mastery of their media. The philosophical architecture of Bill Lowe Gallery is built upon a reverence for the alchemical nature of artistic expression. The gallery honors the profoundly spiritual nature of visual language and the role it can play in affecting paradigm shifts at both a personal and societal level.

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Anushka Kassim

Bill Lowe
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since: 11/2010
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