November 23rd, 2016
(click for zoom-in)
Thornton Dial (American)
Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle (detail) (2003)
Plastic soda bottles, doll, clothing, bedding, wire, found metal, rubber glove, turtle shell, artificial flowers, Splash Zone compound, enamel, and spray paint on canvas on wood
Above is “Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle” a work by Thornton Dial (1928-2016), a self-taught U.S. artist who created assemblages on a large scale.
“Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle” (detail of which is shown first): a tremendous, fearsome work. A scaffolding of intertwined, twisted, knotted bedsheets (?) create a criss-crossed webbing through and around which emerge flowers, prints of flowers, plastic pop bottles that resemble flowers, and other floral elements, with the whole of the work dripping mustard & crimson. The title, in conjunction with the visceral nature of the colors and textures, and the frayed edges and slices in the fabric, suggest birth, violence and death. A ghostly infant hovers in the top left quadrant; her patina, posture and draped body seeming to confer an air of classicism and modesty. Close observation of the work’s details amply repay the viewer with an endless fund of visual interest.
What an achievement, simultaneously chaotic and controlled, capturing the conflation of violence, the birthing process, and nature’s fecundity — and also suggesting a kind of organizing principle or geist observing and animating it all.
For more of Thornton Dial’s works, please check out his profile at www.soulsgrowndeep.org/artist/thornton-dial.