Walking Around the World

Back to Artist
  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
2001
Rope carpet, clothing, bedding, enamel, and spray paint on canvas on wood
73 x 73 x 4 inches
Description: 

In Walking Around the World Dial creates a portrait of African American self­ assertion. The organizing element of the painting is a large X running to each of the work’s four corners.

In Walking Around the World Dial creates a portrait of African American self­ assertion. The organizing element of the painting is a large X running to each of the work’s four corners. The shape of the X and the reds that run through the  field on which it is displayed evoke the Confederate flag and the troubled history that it embodies. The other major element in the composition is the  figure of a brown-­skinned person who emerges from a churning background of scumbled paint and striped cloth scraps, including the fragments of a quilt­-pat­terned bedspread and an American flag. Juxtaposed with the Confederate symbol of the plantation South, this protagonist can be read three ways: crucified and hanging on the remnants of the old South; breaking the bonds of the past and purposefully striding for­ ward (the black quilt aesthetic going global); and as the artist emerging from the whirlwind of his work, determined and triumphant. As in many of Dial’s pieces, there is no absolute interpretation here. But in this clash of opposing forces, the power of the artist resides in his ability to distill and highlight the possi­bilities of meaning. —Bernard L. Herman