TORKWASE DYSON: BETWEEN ECOLOGY, INFRASTRUCTURE AND ARCHITECTURE
Artist Torkwase Dyson is a painter who works across multiple mediums to explore the continuity between ecology, infrastructure and architecture. Her abstract works explore the ways in which space is perceived and negotiated, particularly by black and brown bodies. Fascinated with transformations, ambiguities and environmental changes, Torkwase investigates the connections between imagination, materiality and geography. By looking at spatial liberation strategies from historical and contemporary perspectives, the artist seeks to unlock the potential for more sustainable landscapes.
In her artworks—which vary in material and form, from layered acrylic paintings to plexiglass tetrahedron sculptures—she typically makes use of intensely black pigment. What is common to all of her creations is a profound sense of geometry, with sharp lines and sleek angular compositions. The shapes she chooses always have a symbolic historical meaning. Works such as Hyper Shapes (2018), a series of brush mark drawings, are informed by the places enslaved people used to hide in to get free.
Her more recent exhibitions include the 2019 solo exhibition I Can Drink the Distance at
The Cooper Union, New York, which considered how the body modifies itself to move through built environments. In particular, Torkwase showed the ways humans oppose the violence of industrialisation and colonisation through methods of improvisation and spatial planning. Her 2021 work Breathtaking: On Black Beauty and Other Necessary Indeterminacies (Spatial Test With Drawing, _001) was included in Back to Earth, the Serpentine galleries’ multi-year project about artists’ response to the climate crisis. For this occasion, she created a sound installation based on breathing in the age of pollution.
Torkwase will be featured in the 2022 Summit Debate curated by Strategic Director Beatrix Ruf. She will be in dialogue with Professor Louise O. Fresco, an expert in the field of sustainable agriculture. Please register here to attend this Debate and other elements of the 2022 virtual Summit revolving around the theme Resource Hungry.