Torkwase Dyson: Distance and perception in the wake of climate change

Dyson, the Robert Gwathmey Chair in Architecture and Art at The Cooper Union, discusses recent projects.

April 2, 2019
7:00 p.m.

Artist Torkwase Dyson will speak as the Spring 2019 Robert Gwathmey Chair in Architecture and Art at The Cooper Union. This lecture is co-sponsored by the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture and the School of Art at The Cooper Union.

Torkwase Dyson was born in Chicago and grew up in North Carolina. Traversing these regions helped her develop a sensitivity toward urban development, southern landscape, and black spatial justice.

After graduating from Tougaloo College with a degree in sociology, Dyson traveled to Africa and South and Central America to work with communities of color on resource equality. She also earned a BFA in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA in painting from the Yale School of Art.

Though she works with multiple mediums, Dyson describes herself as a painter who uses distilled geometric abstraction to create an idiosyncratic language that is both diagrammatic and expressive. The works are deconstructions of natural and built environments that consider how individuals negotiate and negate various types of systems and spatial orders.

Dyson’s work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Drawing Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran College of Art and Design, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. In 2016 she was elected to the board of the Architectural League of New York as Vice President of Visual Arts.

She lives and works in Newburgh, New York, and is a critic at the Yale School of Art.

This event is organized in conjunction with Dyson’s solo exhibition at the 41 Cooper Gallery, I Can Drink the Distance.

The lecture will be followed by a conversation with Mario Gooden, the principal and founder of Huff + Gooden and an associate professor at Columbia University’s GSAPP.

The Robert Gwathmey Chair, a rotating professorship in art and architecture, was established by Charles Gwathmey in 1993, in honor of his father, Robert Gwathmey, a professor of art at The Cooper Union from 1942 to 1968.

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