The Pond (A Man Can't Fish in a Pond that Ain't His)

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    Photo: Gamma One Conversions
1989
Tin, Bondo, and enamel on wood
48.5 x 96 inches

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A man is looking at a pond. He is standing in what Dial refers to as "the green pastures," the good land that God has given us for human occupation and cultivation.

A man is looking at a pond. He is standing in what Dial refers to as "the green pastures," the good land that God has given us for human occupation and cultivation. But nature understands man's nature: fish and fowl move toward him until they reach his sphere of influence and then they turn away. Even the cows, man's domesticated property, are trying to leave. Only the last one, a safe distance away, can lie down, secure. The water of the pond, that is, the part of nature outside man's control, is spilling over onto the green pastures—man is never out of reach of nature's whims. Dial made his observer black. Dial's message to the black man is twofold: you can expect to be outside looking in (longing to fish in "a pond that ain't his"); if you get in, if you gain ownership of the land, you are going to be held to the human and natural laws that apply to everyone.