The Blood of Hard Times

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
2004
Corrugated tin, metal, clothes, chain, nails, staples, oil, enamel, spray paint, and Splash Zone compound on canvas on wood
58 x 89 x 5 inches
Description: 

Dial’s political motivations arise from an all-encompassing sense of humanity that is mindful of both the past and the present.

Dial’s political motivations arise from an all-encompassing sense of humanity that is mindful of both the past and the present. In many instances, he is asking us to remember the struggles and atrocities of history as a lesson in the shaping of a better future. Among the numerous examples of Dial’s historical musings is his painting assemblage from 2004, The Blood of Hard Times. A scene of black agrarian life during the Depression, the piece is created from old, dilapidated pieces of metal and corrugated tin, like those so often seen on houses, barns, and rooftops in the more destitute corners of the rural South. At times, these metal scraps assume the rough outline of a dwelling, take on the snipped shapes of trees, or turn into bolls of cotton, all amid a monochromatic field of muted red paint. It is a blood-stained recollection that finally moves us closer to the realization that history, and the acts by which it is defined, leave scars on our memory. And, as Dial implies throughout much of his work, we forgive but we do not always forget. —David C. Driskell