Dolan/Maxwell has organized an exhibition of 55 works on paper with a focus on Thrash’s most productive years of 1930-1950. Dox Thrash: The Hopeful Gaze has recently opened at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art where it remains on view through August 4, 2019.
Thrash (1893-1965) was the son of share-croppers in rural Griffin, Georgia. He left as a teenager to seek a better life in Chicago where he found African-American mentors while studying at Art Institute of Chicago. He served in the US Army in France in WWI and returned after to complete his studies. He left Chicago in the early 1920s and traveled throughout the northeast of the USA before landing in Philadelphia around 1925. We believe he settled in Philadelphia because of the opportunities available to him for making prints.
He began making prints at the Graphic Sketch Club (now Fleisher Art Memorial), and thrived in the prints workshop of the WPA that was established from 1937-1941.
Thrash’s work is very much about his life. Themes covered in the works we’ve gathered include farming and life in rural Georgia, World War II, portraiture, urban life in Philadelphia, work, the WPA and the invention of the carborundum mezzotint technique, still life, landscape, the nude, spirituality, Modern art/abstraction and children. In addition to carborundum mezzotints, we have color carborundum relief etchings, etchings, drypoints, and aquatints, lithographs, relief prints, ink, watercolor and graphite. Thrash mastered each print making technique available to him.