Gray gallery, which is based in Chicago and New York, will now represent Torkwase Dyson alongside Pace Gallery. Dyson’s first exhibition with Gray will be at its Chicago location in 2023, and her work will feature in the gallery’s booth at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, which opens on November 30.
Dyson, who was born in Chicago and is now based in Beacon, New York, is known for a wide-ranging practice that is grounded in painting but extends to sculpture, installation, and performance. Her work is concerned with examining the structures and infrastructures of society, particularly the ways in which those systems have historically controlled the movements of Black and brown people, as a way to envision new spaces for liberation.
In a statement, Paul Gray, a principal at the gallery, said, “Dyson describes painting as an act of liberation, an effort to connect to ancestors, an exploration of space and specifically Black spaces. In her first serious critique as a student, Dyson was told, ‘You can paint, so what?’ This question seems to loom large, for in my visits with her in the studio, as in her time underneath the waves, there always seems to be more she is searching for. She’s driven by curiosity, yes, but even more so it seems, by a sense of exquisite responsibility to answer that question, ‘So what?’ with ever more profound images.”
Dyson has collaborated with Arthur Jafa, Dionne Brand, and Christina Sharp, and her work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C., among other venues. She participated in the 2021 Shanghai Biennale and the 2019 Sharjah Biennial, and she will present a major commission next spring as part of “A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration,” which is co-organized by the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
In a statement, Dyson said, “Every move, every step—I am always thinking about and imagining all of the spaces where people, Black people in particular, headed toward and moved to save themselves. With different geographies, there are different elevations to deal with. Chicago has personal meaning to me and is also fertile ground for my ongoing research and studio practice into water and spatial liberation.”