Torkwase Dyson, Photo by Gabe Souza © Torkwase Dyson;


Announcing Representation of Torkwase Dyson

Jan 22, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Pace Gallery now represents American painter Torkwase Dyson in cooperation with Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, with whom Dyson currently works.

Torkwase Dyson’s radical approach to artmaking interrogates historical and existing infrastructure and architecture to engage with form as power, particularly as it has affected black bodies and consciousness. Working in a space between abstraction and representation, her multidisciplinary practice includes drawing, printmaking, sculpture, installation, performance, and writing — with painting as the key element informing all other media. In Dyson’s work, the body acts as a conceptual nexus that encompasses subjects that range from bridges, levees, and rivers, to global industry and the Anthropocene. She explores this through what she calls “Black Compositional Thought,” a mode of awareness that contends with formal applications of mark-making and constructions of space as they manifest in both mind and material. The legacy of environmental racism and the ongoing traumas of climate change have driven the artist’s conceptual and material approach of black spatial liberation.


Torkwase Dyson, Distance, Distance (1919: Black Water), 2019, acrylic, metal, ink, and gouache on wood, 98" (248.9 cm) diameter © Torkwase Dyson

Dyson’s improvisational yet meditative approach to abstraction expands on the deep legacy of Pace stalwarts such as Agnes Martin, Tony Smith, Robert Rauschenberg, Sam Gilliam, and Louise Nevelson, among others. Her addition to the Pace program emboldens an already strong contemporary group of artists and critical thinkers within Pace such as Adam Pendleton, Yto Barrada, and Fred Wilson, all of whom engage in questions surrounding the pre-existing systems that drive contemporary modes of being and consciousness.

Pace’s inaugural collaboration with Dyson was to commission the artist’s first major performance piece in November 2019, featuring Gaika, Arthur Jafa, Christina Sharp and Deja Smith, among others. Dyson’s work, I Can Drink the Distance: Plantationocene in 2 Acts, formed part of the inaugural season of the gallery’s Pace Live multi-disciplinary live art program curated by Mark Beasley, and was co-presented with Performa. Pace looks forward to exploring the diversity of Dyson’s oeuvre in more depth, with a focus on her painting practice.

Dyson will work closely with Pace Senior Director Simon Preston, and will be supported by Pace’s in-house curatorial team in the gallery’s mission to expand her critically important work. Pace will introduce Dyson’s work through its global exhibition spaces, publishing imprint, and vast community and institutional network.

I’m interested in the politics of abstraction and I want to make paintings that emanate both a sense of poetry and agency. Painting is a methodology for which to think through everything that is not painting, and I can do just that at Pace. There are new beginnings to forge in my practice and I’m excited to be a part of such an elastic and prolific space to grow it all.

Torkwase Dyson


Torkwase Dyson, Blackshore Line, acrylic, 5 x 4 x 3' © Torkwase Dyson

Simon Preston comments: “In our initial collaboration with Dyson it became clear that her astute abilities across a range of disciplines makes her a truly critical force in the community, and we felt compelled to deepen our relationship and make a serious commitment to the future of her career. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with an artist of such integrity and poise, and fully support her singular vision and potential.”

Andria Hickey, Senior Director and Curator at Pace, says: “From its beginning, Pace has worked to support visionary artists; we look to grow artists’ careers that are changing the way we think, not simply work with those whose markets are already well established. The vision for the future of Pace is to tell a more complete story of art history, and to bring previously underrepresented voices into unison with the major twentieth and twenty-first century artists in our program.”

In 2019, Dyson was awarded the Studio Museum’s Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize and the Anonymous Was a Woman award for painting. Her work was included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial. Dyson has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and installations at institutions, including Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago; Bennington College VAPA Usdan Gallery, Vermont; Colby College Museum of Art, Franconia Sculpture Park, Maine; Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Philadelphia, and Davidson Contemporary, New York. Her work has been exhibited in group shows internationally, including Between the Waters at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2018) and Plumb Line: Charles White and the Contemporary at California African American Museum, Los Angeles (2019). In addition to many fellowships and residencies, she has been the recipient of a The Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant, Nancy Graves Grant for Visual Artists, and a Brooklyn Arts Council grant.

Learn More About Torkwase Dyson

  • News — Announcing Representation of Torkwase Dyson, Jan 22, 2020