Tales of the rural South are told through the works of Gee’s Bend and Thornton Dial at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in the museum’s Creation Story exhibit. Quilts made by the women of Gee’s Bend, a small rural community southwest of Selma, Ala., work harmoniously with the self-taught master of assemblage art Thornton Dial, currently exhibited until Monday, September 3.
The tradition of quilt making is an essential domestic responsibility for the women of Gee’s Bend. The 42 women that participated in the construction of this otherwise ordinary task have now been given national recognition for creating something extraordinary. Produced against a backdrop of poverty and racism, the composition of each quilt exemplifies the wear and tear of each material that piece together stories into a cohesive work of art.
“Creation Story” transitions from the elegantly stitched patchwork of Gee’s Bend to Thornton Dial’s large-scale assemblages. Dial uses found materials and reconfigures their original purpose into his art; some even mirror the geometric shapes of quilts. As you make your way through the gallery, the abstract objects begin to transform into more easily recognizable pictorial images that Dial eloquently creates. By the end of the exhibition, you learn how to read Dial’s images beyond their materials and surface.
Whether you are a master quilter, art historian or just like to check out museums on the weekend, this exhibition is not one where you need a lot of background information to understand the story being told. Create your own story with the materials given to you and you’ll walk out of The Frist feeling like you just wrote your first novel about the struggles and disparity of the rural South.
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Nashville, TN 37203
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Thursday and Friday: 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Sunday: 1–5:30 p.m. (Café opens at noon on Sunday)
Admission: Frist Center Members: Free
Visitors 18 years of age and younger: Free
College Students with ID*: $7
Seniors (65 and older): $7
Active Military (with current military ID): $7
Groups of 10 or more (with advance reservation): $8
*Thursday and Friday evenings from 5-9 p.m. admission is free for colleges students with school ID.
For more information, please visit fristcenter.org