Thornton Dial was born in the tiny farm community of Emelle in western Alabama in 1928. He began making "things" at an early age and continued to create art throughout adulthood, he originally kept his work hidden, or destroyed it out of apprehension about the subversiveness of its content. His work came to the attention of the outside world in 1987. His varied body of work, usually done in series of up to fifteen pieces, includes paintings, assemblage, sculptures, and works on paper. His personal, abstract, and conceptual style, like the work of many other outstanding artists of his genre, has thoroughly contradicted the conventional misconceptions about the work of “self-taught” or “outsider” artists. Among the many museums that include Thornton Dial in their collections are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.