Torkwase Dyson: Studies for Bird and Lava at Pace Gallery, East Hampton, through August 9, 2020

“Pace Gallery is pleased to present New York-based artist Torkwase Dyson’s first exhibition with the gallery at its recently opened space in East Hampton. Dyson’s multidisciplinary approach to artmaking interrogates historical and existing infrastructure and architecture, particularly how Black and brown bodies compose, perceive, and negotiate space. Dyson will debut a series of new paintings and drawings made during the period of isolation caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus in New York City, which also coincided with the start of the artist’s year-long artist residency at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Integral to understanding Dyson’s practice is the artist’s assertion of Black Compositional Thought, which functions as a mode of awareness that contends with the formal applications of mark-making and constructions of space to examine the legacy of environmental justice and Black spatial practices. Moving between the artist’s apartment in Harlem to a larger studio space in Newburgh, New York, Dyson began a series of new drawings during the recent shutdown, deepening her articulation of Black Compositional Thought through experiments in animation, intimately scaled works on paper, and shape studies. This exhibition is the culmination of a period of a process-oriented study for Dyson’s ongoing project, Bird and Lava, which is a multifaceted expression of a question: “If blackness is already an architectonic developed out of liquidity (ocean), can the work embody this phenomenon and offer sensation (sensoria) at the register of liberation?’.” — Pace Gallery

Installation views of Studies for Bird and Lava, 68 Park Place, East Hampton, August 1 – 9, 2020. Photography courtesy of Pace Gallery

Torkwase Dyson: Studies for Bird and Lava, 2020

From left: I Am Everything That Will Save Me (Bird and Lava), 2020.

Torkwase Dyson: Studies for Bird and Lava, 2020

From left: I Am Everything That Will Save Me (Bird and Lava), 2020; Both, All and Everything (Bird and Lava), 2020; Space as Form: Movement 4 (Bird and Lava), 2020; Space as Form: Movement 1 (Bird and Lava), 2020.

Torkwase Dyson: Studies for Bird and Lava, 2020

From left: Space as Form: Movement 4 (Bird and Lava), 2020; Space as Form: Movement 1 (Bird and Lava), 2020; Space as Form: Movement 3 (Bird and Lava), 2020.

Torkwase Dyson: Studies for Bird and Lava, 2020

From left: Space as Form: Movement 1 (Bird and Lava), 2020; Space as Form: Movement 3 (Bird and Lava), 2020; Closer #5 (Bird and Lava), 2020; Liberation Scaled (Bird and Lava), 2020.

Torkwase Dyson: Studies for Bird and Lava, 2020

From left: Closer #5 (Bird and Lava), 2020; Liberation Scaled (Bird and Lava), 2020; Overall Form #1 (Bird and Lava), 2020; Liquid, Space and Light #4, 2020; Liquid, Space and Light #1, 2020.

Title image: Torkwase Dyson I Am Everything That Will Save Me (Bird and Lava), 2020. Acrylic and string on wood, 36” diameter © Torkwase Dyson, courtesy Pace Gallery. Photography by Kris Graves.