torkwase dyson usdan gallery

Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery

On View: "Scalar," a solo exhibition by Torkwase Dyson


Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery
One College Drive
Bennington, VT, 05201

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Tuesdays-Saturdays, from 1:00-5:00 pm


Torkwase Dyson | September 18-December 15, 2018 
Keiko Narahashi + Sarah Peters | February-April 2019
Marie Lorenz | April-May 2019

On View

Scalar, a solo exhibition by Torkwase Dyson

“Scalar” features new paintings, drawings, and sculptures by artist Torkwase Dyson, known for her use of abstraction and modes of inquiry from art, architecture, and geography to explore the production of form within contemporary economic and political climates. With works created in response to the Bennington context, Dyson takes inspiration from the geometric and mathematic formations of the late artist and architectural designer Tony Smith, whose tenure as an instructor at the College, from 1958 to 1961, proved significant in his development as a sculptor. In turn, Dyson approaches her time at Bennington as an opportunity for deep reflection on the properties of scale, dimension, and geometry. Of particular interest is the progressive growth of multifaceted forms and systems into structures whose scope or complexity can defy comprehension. Artworks on view in Usdan Gallery, including a 12-by-20-foot diptych painted on site, demonstrate the artist’s ongoing development of a vocabulary of forms and gestures that speaks to the history of environmental and spatial politics leading to the Anthropocene era of global crisis. With its breadth of concerns and consideration of Smith’s legacy, Dyson’s exhibition extends the history of formal abstraction at Bennington, finding new urgency for modernist traditions rooted in the College.

About the Artist

Though working in multiple mediums, Torkwase Dyson (b. Chicago) describes herself as a painter who uses distilled geometric abstraction to create an idiosyncratic language both expressive and diagrammatic. Her developmental years moving between North Carolina and Mississippi influenced Dyson’s conception of a fundamental dialectic of architecture, infrastructure, geography, and black spatial liberation. Her ongoing projects include Studio South Zero, a solar-powered nomadic workspace that supports multidisciplinary art making about the environment; and the Wynter-Wells Drawing School for Environmental Liberation (named for Jamaican writer and cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter and American Civil Rights leader Ida B. Wells), a pedagogical platform for investigating and reimagining forms and uses of space in natural and designed landscapes. Recent solo exhibitions of Dyson’s work have been presented at the Graham Foundation, Chicago; the Drawing Center, New York City; Landmark Gallery, Texas Tech University, Lubbock; Eyebeam, Brooklyn; and the Meat Market Gallery, Washington, DC. Her work has been included in exhibitions in New York at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Martos Gallery, Postmasters Gallery, and We Buy Gold, Brooklyn; as well as at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Philadelphia, and the National Museum of African Art, Washington DC. Her work has been supported by the Graham Foundation; Joan Mitchell Foundation; Nancy Graves Foundation; Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University; and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Center. She is on the board of the Architectural League of New York, and is represented by Davidson Contemporary, New York; and Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago.

Recent Exhibits 

Now You Know—Senior Show 2018

Now You Know—Senior Show 2018

May 23-June 1, 2018

A group show of the 2018 graduating seniors in visual arts at Bennington College, Now You Know is not a culmination or distillation of the essence of our past four years here, but rather just another step through one of many doorways.

Unpacking the Vault: Hidden Narratives...

unpacking the vault

February 27-April 15, 2018

Usdan Gallery is proud to present Unpacking the Vault, a student-researched exploration of the scope of objects in the Bennington art holdings. More than 70 paintings, sculptures, prints, books and other objects are included. 

Vessels: Containment and Displacement...

Vessels image archive

April 19-May 12, 2018

In Vessels, curators Barry Bartlett and Aysha Peltz invite the viewer to consider the the history of the vessel, from its primal beginnings as a container necessary for survival through its evolution into an increasingly sophisticated form of expression. 


Michael Brown edit on CAPA photo by Keegan Ead

October 9–December 15, 2017

Alexandra Bell is known for her “Counternarratives” project of supersized New York Times articles edited to reveal biases and assumptions about race and gender. Her “Counternarratives” prints appeared at Bennington as a series of four installed on building exteriors around campus.

Laura Gilpin

Laura Gilpin/Intrepid Women

November 7–December 12, 2017

This photography exhibition was curated by Bennington students enrolled in the class “Laura Gilpin & The Platinum Print,” offered spring 2017. The exhibition explored the inner life of this twentieth-century photographer and her relationship to the Navajo Nation and the landscape of the desert Southwest.

Nothing in the News

Sideline Collective: Nothing in the News

November 14–December 15, 2017

Usdan Gallery collaborated with Crossett Library to present “Nothing in the News,” a series of international newspapers stripped of content. An ongoing project of the art and design group Sideline Collective, “Nothing in the News” comments on the data overload of everyday life. The display of “Nothing in the News” coincided with Alexandra Bell's Counternarratives

In the News

Meet our curator

Anne Thompson headshotAnne Thompson is an visual artist whose practice includes writing and curating. She is the founder of the I-70 Sign Show  a public art billboard and event project that positions the Midwest interstate as a site for cultural and political commentary. Before receiving her MFA from Yale, Thompson was a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press. She joined the Bennington faculty in Fall 2017.