20221110_DYSON Install_FL1_v08

Torkwase Dyson

A Liquid Belonging

On View
Nov 11 – Dec 17, 2022
New York
Exhibition Details:

Torkwase Dyson
A Liquid Belonging
Nov 11 – Dec 17, 2022


540 West 25th Street
New York


Press Release



Above: Installation view, Torkwase Dyson: A Liquid Belonging, Nov 11 – Dec 17, 2022, Pace Gallery, New York © Torkwase Dyson

Pace is pleased to present an exhibition of new site-specific sculptural installations and paintings by Torkwase Dyson, whose multidisciplinary practice spans painting, sculpture, performance, film, and drawing.

Titled A Liquid Belonging, the artist’s upcoming exhibition is concerned with embodied experiences that refuse brut infrastructure in the legacy of Modernism in favor of new spatial expectations that inspire liveness and acknowledgements of multisensory belonging. This forthcoming presentation will mark Dyson’s first solo show at Pace’s 540 West 25th Street gallery in New York, on view from November 11 to December 17.

For many years, the artist has understood water as a geography with an indelible tie to architecture and infrastructure. Growing up in Southeast Chicago, living in Mississippi, and studying the intractable damage of extraction have inspired Dyson to explore different water ecosystems by diving in the global south. The artist’s diving practice is in conversation with her research surrounding relationships between environmental liberation, structural violence, and the bodies of water that make up most of the planet. Her art, which often examines the meanings of poetic movement asserting humanity, is deeply informed by these ideas and practices. Through her dispersals of abstract forms, Dyson invites viewers into spatial and perceptual practices that affirm improvisation, indeterminacy, and migration.

Dyson’s unique curvilinear and rectangular hypershapes, which can be found in her work across mediums, speak to infrastructures of liberation and resistance. Dyson’s art is guided by her working philosophy of Black Compositional Thought, through which she considers the ways that architectures, geographies, throughways, enclosures, paths, and other physical and non-physical spaces are composed and inhabited by Black and brown bodies throughout history. Black Compositional Thought, in the artist’s words, also “considers how properties of energy, space, scale, and sound interact as networks of liberation.”

For Dyson, A Liquid Belonging is an experiment in shifting scales. The new, monumental sculptures that will be on view across two floors of Pace’s New York gallery reflect the artist’s expansions of her theories on movement, geography, perception, and material. These site-specific, never-before-seen sculptures will occupy the entirety of Pace’s first and seventh floor exhibition spaces. The dynamic abstractions that constitute these works—which Dyson forges from her distinctive vocabulary of shapes, geometries, lines, and edges—address how individuals negotiate and negate various systems and spatial orders.

Dyson considers the juxtapositions between her touch of hand and use of industrial materials “discursive refusals” that range from the intimacy of mark making to new world building. Liveness (Multi-Scalar Motion #1) (2022), the multifaceted, sprawling, steel and graphite sculptural installation that will be presented on the gallery’s first floor, is made up of shifting weights, textures, and forms to meditate on the connections between scale and movement, enactments of precarity, and the social and political impacts of the climate crisis.

With Dyson’s interest in the inherent possibilities of a multiscalar approach to environmental liberation this installation engages histories of racial and global capitalism, trade, and extraction across oceans, waterways, cities, industries, and other built and natural environments.

Liveness (Multi-Scalar Motion #1) will be exhibited alongside three new paintings by the artist on the gallery’s first floor. Dyson constructs these two-dimensional works, which incorporate acrylic and wood elements, as part of an exacting, deliberate process involving the production of dense layers and washes, expressive marks, and diagrammatic lines and planes. The paintings featured in Dyson’s upcoming exhibition use modules to create conditions of line, weight, and tactility. In her paintings, Dyson employs gravity as a material in its own right, bringing that unremitting force into contact with the liquid surfaces of her canvases to cultivate new effects and atmospheres. Here, the dynamics between these paintings and the large-scale installation are expressions of shifting scales in relation to time and space.

Pace’s seventh floor will showcase a new trapezoidal, graphite on plywood installation titled Beloved Stillness (Hypershape) (2022). Descending from the building’s eighth floor balcony and cutting diagonally across the gallery space, this work will invite viewers to pass under and around it, like a pathway. A new wall-mounted sculptural work, Symbolic Geography #3 (Hypershape) (2022), will be exhibited alongside this installation, reflecting Dyson's embodied experiences of shifting scales between space, time, and distance.

In recent years, Dyson has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Hall Art Foundation at Schloss Derneburg in Germany. Her work currently figures in the traveling group exhibition A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration, which will open at the Baltimore Museum of Art on October 30. In 2023, the artist will participate in the Liverpool Biennial in the United Kingdom; the Manchester International Festival in the United Kingdom; the Counterpublic triennial in St. Louis; and Desert X in Palm Springs.


Installation view, Torkwase Dyson: A Liquid Belonging, Nov 11 – Dec 17, 2022, Pace Gallery, New York © Torkwase Dyson

Pace Live

Torkwase Dyson in Conversation with Mario Gooden

On the History of Infrastructure in Dyson's Practice

Presented in Collaboration with The Architectural League of New York

Wednesday, Dec 7
6:30 PM EST
YouTube Live

Learn More & RSVP


Featured Works

Torkwase Dyson, Scalar #1 (Blue Belonging), 2022, acrylic, ink, and wood on canvas, 91-1/2" × 72" × 10" (232.4 cm × 182.9 cm × 25.4 cm)
Torkwase Dyson, Scalar #2 (Blue Belonging), 2022, acrylic, ink, and wood on canvas, 91-1/2" × 72" × 10" (232.4 cm × 182.9 cm × 25.4 cm)
Torkwase Dyson, Liveness and Distance, 2022, acrylic and wood on canvas, 90-1/2" × 72-1/2" × 2-3/4" (229.9 cm × 184.2 cm × 7 cm)
Torkwase Dyson, Symbolic Geography #3 (Hypershape), 2022, wood, graphite, acrylic, and glass, 23-3/8" × 25-1/2" × 3-5/16" (59.3 cm × 64.8 cm × 8.4 cm)

Installation Views

Torkwase Dyson_010 2.jpg

About the Artist

Torkwase Dyson describes herself as a painter working across multiple mediums to explore the continuity between ecology, infrastructure, and architecture. Examining environmental racism as well as the history and future of black spatial liberation strategies, Dyson’s abstract works grapple with the ways in which space is perceived and negotiated, particularly by black and brown bodies.

Learn More