Ackland Art Museum
March 30 – July 1, 2012

One of America’s most remarkable living artists, Thornton Dial is widely recognized for his large-scale, multimedia assemblages, yet his most abundant body of work is his drawings, which he began producing in the early 1990s. Organized by the Ackland Art Museum, Thornton Dial: Thoughts on Paper will feature 50 of Dial’s earliest drawings from 1990-1991, a pivotal moment in his artistic career.


The Ackland Art Museum is well known for its extensive collection of works on paper and in particular, its outstanding collection of drawings, making it a natural venue in which to explore this less-known but highly significant portion of Dial’s oeuvre. The works in the exhibition—characterized by flowing lines, color washes, and images of women, fish, and tigers—provide a touchstone of Dial’s creative process.


An accompanying publication, Thornton Dial: Thoughts on Paper, edited by Bernard L. Herman (guest exhibition curator and George B. Tindall Professor of American Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and published by UNC Press, offers the first sustained critical attention to Thornton Dial’s works on paper. The book includes contributions by Bernard L. Herman, Juan Logan, Glenn Hinson, Colin Rhodes, and Cara Zimmerman. It is available for purchase at the Ackland Museum Store.

The presentation of Thornton Dial: Thoughts on Paper at the Ackland Art Museum is made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the David G. Frey Expendable American Art Fund.

Other venues: Fleming Museum: September 25 - December 14, 2012
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts: January 12 - March 17, 2013
Knoxville Museum of Art: July 12 - August 25, 2013