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Torkwase Dyson

Closer (Bird and Lava)

June 4–July 9, 2023

Dyson presents Closer (Bird and Lava), an investigation into the relationship between architecture, infrastructure, water, and environmental liberation. Torkwase Dyson integrates the unique spatial characteristics and natural light of the ‘T’ Space gallery into her installation. Consisting of site-specific objects that toggle between painting and sculpture, this exhibition is an expression of systems, structures, enclosures, and throughways evoking themes of containment and expansion. Shifts in scale take the viewer on a journey from the intimacy of the artist’s hand, to industrial conditions of seriality, onto the immeasurable or the improvisational.

Dyson’s compositions re-imagine geometric abstraction through the lens of history and black liberation. At ‘T’ Space, her intervention combines multiple experiences of elevations, scale, texture, hinges, line, and perspective. Speaking about the ideas behind Bird and Lava, Dyson stated:

“I am certain that the beauty in black indeterminacy, from sound to science, from architecture to migration, will continue to guide our solutions to climate and form. Forms that are deeply spatial, generous, and haunting. In this moment of environmental precarity, we will need to be both liquid and mountains, bird and lava.”

This exhibition is the third in a series expanding her ongoing Bird and Lava project with concurrent exhibitions at the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum in St. Louis and Counterpublic, St. Louis’ citywide public art triennial. ‘T’ Space published a brochure on the occasion of the exhibition in Rhinebeck with text written by the artist, where Dyson expands on the previous research gathered for this project. The brochure compiles all of her research since the conception of Bird and Lava during her residency at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts in 2020, and serves as an important resource that collects and distills the ideas behind this major chapter in the artist’s career.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.


Click here to listen to a conversation between Torkwase Dyson and critic, Siddartha Mitter (New York Times) from the opening event of Dyson’s exhibition at ‘T’ Space.

Click here to view the exhibition catalog.



Torkwase Dyson is an artist working across multiple mediums to explore the continuity between ecology, infrastructure, and architecture. Her work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. Dyson’s recent monumental outdoor pieces in high-profile biennials like Desert X (2023) and the Sharjah Biennial (2019) and her critically-acclaimed solo exhibitions at Pace London (2021) and Pace New York (2022) reveal the significant momentum behind the artist’s work. Additional solo exhibitions include Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine (2018); Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago (2018); and Arthur Ross Gallery at Columbia University, New York, NY (2019). Additionally, Dyson’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and California African American Museum, Los Angeles.

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