RESPECT: THORNTON DIAL AND GEE’S BEND
For the last decade there has been a mutual respect and exchange between Alabama-based, self-taught artist Thornton Dial and a number of the women quilters of Gee’s Bend, an isolated community also in Alabama. They equally recognize the struggles of artistic creation in often challenging cultural and economic environments and they freely share ideas and motifs. Both Dial and the quilters employ found materials, often cast off by society. Dial has made large assemblages both reflecting the determination of the quilters and employing some of their color blocking and patterns. In the exhibition, a work by Dial called Clothing Mill exemplifies their influence in his work and a piece by Mary Lee Bendolph, one of the leading Gee’s Bend quilters, is titled To Honor Mr. Dial. Thornton Dial is the subject of a major retrospective organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and now traveling. The Gee’s Bend quilters have been represented in exhibitions traveling to more than thirty museums nationwide.