Torkwase Dyson describes herself as a painter working across multiple mediums to explore the continuity between ecology, infrastructure, and architecture. Dyson’s abstract works are visual and material systems used to construct fusions of surface tension, movement, scale, real and finite space. With an emphasis on the ways black and brown bodies perceive and negotiate space as information, Dyson looks to spatial liberation strategies from historical and contemporary perspectives, seeking to uncover new understandings of the potential for more livable geographies.
Dyson builds the paintings slowly, accumulating washes, building surface, and configuring minimal geometric elements that lend a productive tension between image and object. The paint-handling producing various visual qualities using brushwork and other tools is made poetic by a juxtaposition of delicate marks and scored diagrammatic lines. This compositional rigor imbues the works with an architectural presence and optical gravity.
Dyson considers spatial relations an urgent question both historically and in the present day. Through abstract paintings, Dyson grapples with ways space is perceived and negotiated. Explorations of how the body unifies, balances, and arranges itself to move through natural and built environments become both expressive and discursive structures within the work.
Torkwase Dyson’s artworks are deconstructions of natural and built environments that influence environmental and cultural conditions. In both her established forms of painting, drawing and sculptures, and long-term architectural project Dyson considers the liminal spaces between un-keeping place and place-making an investigation of spatial and ecological dignity.
Dyson was awarded a residency at Eyebeam in 2015, during which she produced multiple bodies of work that were included in a major solo exhibition organized by Eyebeam titled Unkeeping (2016). The exhibition was groundbreaking as a thesis on the potential for painting and abstraction as a form of data visualization, in this instance invoking the devastating spatial history of slavery, and the ongoing relationship between architecture and systemic racism. Following her time at Eyebeam, Torkwase joined the roster of artists at Pace Gallery in NYC, and her work has been widely exhibited internationally from the Museum of Modern Art to the Sharjah Biennial.