Marianne Boesky Gallery opens dual-artist exhibition of Thornton Dial and Jasmine Little

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Marianne Boesky Gallery opens dual-artist exhibition of Thornton Dial and Jasmine Little
Installation view. Photo: Tony Prikryl.

ASPEN, CO.- Marianne Boesky Gallery is presenting a dual-artist exhibition of works by Thornton Dial and Colorado-based artist Jasmine Little. The presentation focuses on Dial’s works on paper created between 1991 – 2005 and four new stoneware vessels by Little. The exhibition is on view July 2 through September 13, 2020, at the gallery’s space in Aspen, Colorado. Dial and Little’s works are also being featured in an online viewing room to accompany the exhibition on the gallery’s website.

Shown together, Dial’s works on paper and Little’s stoneware vessels explore their distinct approaches and interest in iconography. The works on view highlight both artists’ facility in portraying narrative structures through their chosen medium and create a dialogue around ideas of ownership, reference, narrative, and medium.

Dial was born in Sumter County, Alabama in 1928, with the effects of slavery ever present and Jim Crow oppression restricting the lives of Black Americans. Throughout his practice, Dial created drawings, monumental sculptures, and assemblages that referenced personal and collective experiences of living as an African American man in the South.

The works on paper by Dial on view create narratives through primarily representational imagery and symbols, including female and African American figures, tigers, fish, and birds, formed through swirled lines and exuberant strokes. Together with the insightful titling of the work, Dial mines his personal life and a history of struggle and oppression, forming stories that are at times somber, but also contain joy and wit, illuminating the artist’s preoccupation with understanding his place in the world.

Little’s large-scale, cylindrical vessels feature a variety of figures, animals, and plants that the artist inlays into a wet clay form along with pieces of brick, gravel, and porcelain before firing in a gas kiln. Traditionally a painter, Little pulls the source imagery for the ceramics from wide-ranging origins, including 13th-century Gothic ivory carvings, Mannerist painting, and Ancient Egyptian ceramics.

Little takes particular interest in weaving together different points of human history, pulling apart art historical references, time, and place and rebuilding them in her stoneware vessels. In the process of recontextualizing the source imagery through ceramics – a medium embedded with a history of craft and labor – the artist democratizes these references and the viewing experience by focusing her attention away from a set narrative and using a more functional form.

Jasmine Little (b. 1984) lives and works in Alamosa, CO. Her work will be on view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (June 27 – July 25, 2020) and is currently on view in a group show at Tif Sigfrids Gallery, Athens, GA. She has recently exhibited at Galerie Dumonteil, Shanghai, China; Johannes Vogt, New York, NY; Lefebvre & Fils, Paris, France; Tif Sigfrids, Athens, GA; and Five Car Garage, Santa Monica, CA. She has been featured in numerous publications including Whitewall, Artillery, New American Paintings and LA Weekly. Her work is included in the Smithsonian collection of American Art.

Thornton Dial (B. Emelle, AL, 1928, D. McCalla, AL, 2016) has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2005); the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1993); and the American Folk Art Museum, New York (1993). His solo exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (2011) traveled to the New Orleans Museum of Art (2012), Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte (2012), and High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2013). His work is included in many important permanent collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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