Scalar, a solo exhibition by Torkwase Dyson

September-December 2018

“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.

"Scalar" was reviewed in Hyperallergic as one of the "Best of 2018: Our Top 20 Exhibitions Across the United States."

Space as Place, Scalar as Vector: Torkwase Dyson’s (Black) Abstraction,” an essay by Heather V. Vermeulen (commissioned by Usdan Gallery)

Dyson's work on view in Usdan Gallery open space white walls and several paintings visible, with guest viewing play video
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Torkwase Dyson in Conversation

Torkwase Dyson in conversation with art historian Horace Ballard.

From left: “Up South 3 (Water Table)” and “Up South 4 (Water Table),” each 60 inches diameter, acrylic on canvas, 2018.
From left: “Up South 3 (Water Table)” and “Up South 4 (Water Table),” each 60 inches diameter, acrylic on canvas, 2018.
mirrored sculpture by torkwase dyson rate of transformation
“1994 (Rate of Transformation #Scale), detail / Dimensions variable / Acrylic, graphite, string, steel and wood / 2018
"I Can Feel You Now (Accumulation / Distribution)” / 120 x 240 inches / Acrylic, string and steel on canvas / 2018
"I Can Feel You Now (Accumulation / Distribution)” / 120 x 240 inches / Acrylic, string and steel on canvas / 2018
Installation view of “Scalar."
Installation view of “Scalar."
Installation view of “Scalar."
Installation view of “Scalar."
Three square works in black and white by dyson: From left: “Mass of Consequence,” “Scale of Consequence,” and “Weight of Consequence,” eachl 60 x 60 inches, acrylic on canvas, 2018.
From left: “Mass of Consequence,” “Scale of Consequence,” and “Weight of Consequence,” each 60 x 60 inches, acrylic on canvas, 2018.
Installation view of “Scalar,” showing “Orientation #1,” 124 x 96 inches, acrylic, string and steel on canvas, 2018.
Installation view of “Scalar,” showing “Orientation #1,” 124 x 96 inches, acrylic, string and steel on canvas, 2018.
Right: Tony Smith, “Untitled” (two canvases), 1962. Left: Torkwase Dyson, “Orientation #2,” 60 x 60 inches, acrylic, string and steel on canvas, 2018.
Right: Tony Smith, “Untitled” (two canvases), 1962. Left: Torkwase Dyson, “Orientation #2,” 60 x 60 inches, acrylic, string and steel on canvas, 2018.