The youngest son of notorious sculptor and woodworker, Edgar Tolson, Donald (Donny) Lee Tolson was born in Campton, Kentucky. While his work is stylistically similar to his father’s, Donny’s carvings are often of a broader subject matter and are easily distinguishable from Edgar’s. A family of woodcarvers, the Tolsons use woodcarving as a means of interpreting biblical and traditional stories and bringing meaning to the lessons and morals they teach. Sometimes painting his carvings, the surfaces of the pieces in KMAC’s collection are bare, allowing the qualities of the figure itself to animate the material.
Related artists in KMAC's collection:
Garland Adkins, Minnie Adkins, Ernest Baker, Linvel Barker, Minnie Black, Marvin Finn, Denzil Goodpaster, Tim Hall, Larry Hamm, Alma Lesch, Erma "Junior" Lewis, Tim Lewis, Lloyd "Hog" Mattingly, Carl McKenzie, Earnest Patton
Ardery, Julia S. The Temptation: Edgar Tolson and the Genesis of Twentieth-Century Folk Art. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.
Laffal, Florence, and Julius Laffal. American Self-Taught Art: An Illustrated Analysis of 20th Century Artists and Trends with 1,319 Capsule Biographies. Jefferson: McFarland & Co., 2003.
Lavitt, Wendy. Animals in American Folk Art. New York: Knopf, 1990.
Pierce, James Smith, Larry Hackley, and Folk Art Society of Kentucky. God, Man and the Devil: Religion in Recent Kentucky Folk Art. Lexington: Folk Art Society of Kentucky, 1984.