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Outsider Art | Thornton Dial | Biography
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Thornton Dial Sr. attended school through the fourth grade and is married with five children. Dial worked for the Pullman Standard Company for thirty years. He did iron work, cement work, a jack-of-all- trades. Bill Arnett learned of his art through self taught artist, Lonnie Holley and brought attention of Dial's work to the art world in 1987.  Before that time, his wife, Clara Mae, would make him bury his "junk." 

Thornton Dial, sometimes called Buck Dial, created sculptural objects, large assemblages using as found objects.  He also uses pastels and paints on small to large sized artist papers supplied by Arnett.  Dial has deep convictions concerning racial, religious, political, and social valves which he expresses brilliantly in his work.  Thornton has had one man shows in New York City and Houston.  He is recognized as one of the greatest living self-taught artists in the United States.

In the fall of 2005, the Houston Fine Arts Museum hosted a show, "Thornton Dial in the 21st Century."  The show contained over 60 large assemblage works, sculpture, and works on paper. The accompanying book; Thornton Dial in the 21st Century by Paul Arnett, Joanne Cobbs and Eugene W. Metcalf Jr. clearly establishes Dial as a premier artist.

Thornton Dial Sr. is one of a handful of artists that will bridge the chasm of self-taught verses trained artists.  His brilliant work begs the question of artistic training.  Dial's work is as thoughtful, thought provoking and timeless as the best of contemporary art in the universe!

Thornton Dial in the Wall Street Journal April 21, 2011

Thornton Dial in Time Magazine March 14, 2011

Thornton Dial in the New York Times February 17, 2011

Thornton Dial in Antiques and Fine Art Magazine, Winter 2011,                  written by former Outsider Folk Art Gallery Director Emily Christensen

George Viener, left, with Thornton Dial, center front, at "Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial" at Indianapolis Museum of Art opening. George Viener, left, with Thornton Dial, center front, at "Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial" at Indianapolis Museum of Art opening.

Thornton Dial Sr. (1938-Present) Bessemer, Alabama 

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