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Torkwase Dyson engages the Graham Foundation galleries as both a site of installation for her experimental sculptures and drawing practice, as well as an incubator for discussion. Through her use of abstraction, Dyson extends the art historical cannon to ask questions about what is at stake for the production of form in the context of the legacy of environmental racism and the contemporary cultural and political climates. Weaving together different modes of inquiry from art, architecture, geography, and other disciplines, the exhibition initiates dialogue about environmentalism, race, and spatiality in the Anthropocene era of global crisis.

Featuring a new suite of 210 drawings and large-scale site-specific sculptural works, the exhibition convenes Dyson’s pedagogical project: the Wynter-Wells Drawing School for Environmental Justice—named for Jamaican writer and cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter and American Civil Rights leader Ida B. Wells. During the exhibition, talks and workshops with architects, artists, environmentalists, poets, and scholars, create opportunities for the public to directly engage in a collective investigation into how people move through space, how space is used, how use suggests new forms, how these forms are discovered through drawing, and how these drawn forms provide context for understanding and agency in the natural and designed landscapes.

Torkwase Dyson is a 2018 Graham Foundation Fellow—a new program that provides support for the development and production of original and challenging works and the opportunity to present these projects in an exhibition at the Foundation’s Madlener House galleries in Chicago. The Fellowship program extends the legacy of the Foundation’s first awards, made in 1957, and continues the tradition of support to individuals to explore innovative perspectives on spatial practices in design culture. As a Graham Fellow, Dyson is in residence throughout the run of her exhibition.

Torkwase Dyson, born in Chicago, is an artist based in New York whose practice draws on her interest in abstraction, social architecture, and environmental justice. Her work has most recently been exhibited in New York at The Drawing Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and We Buy Gold, as well as at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Philadelphia; and the National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC. She is represented by Davidson Contemporary, New York; and Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago.


Graham Foundation
for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
Madlener House, 4 West Burton Place
Chicago, IL 60610, United States of America



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