Freedom

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
2001
Furniture springs, American flag, clothing, crutches, shoes, shovel, steel mesh, wood, spray can, bowl, tin, plastic bands, wig, plastic, oil, enamel, spray paint, Splash Zone compound and painted stretched canvas on canvas on wood
72.5 x 84 x 13.5 inches

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Description: 

As Dial surveys his “world”—the spheres of his childhood in Emelle, his neighborhoods and life experiences in Bessemer, and the kindred spirits inhabiting these milieus—his superimposition of meani

As Dial surveys his “world”—the spheres of his childhood in Emelle, his neighborhoods and life experiences in Bessemer, and the kindred spirits inhabiting these milieus—his superimposition of meanings weaves a sturdy fabric of art, autobiography, otherness (he uses the term “strangeness”), and incident. This is the home ground for Dial’s culturally self-determining aesthetic. Freedom shows a black laborer, made from a shovel handle, reaching for both the Statue of Liberty (a black woman whose torch is a covered dish) and for an emblem of “black” art. While he clutches Liberty, his left hand reaches for a small inset painting that functions as a play-within-the-play. The inset easel canvas has been overpainted black and piled with scraps of clothing and found metal, a symbol for vernacular art and the struggle for aesthetic liberty alongside economic freedom. —Paul Arnett