The New Social Environment#75

Torkwase Dyson with Robert Shane


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Painter and sculptor Torkwase Dyson will discus their body of work with art historian, Dr. Robert Shane. We will conclude with a poetry reading from Gabriel Palacios.

A photo of Torkwase Dyson
Torkwase Dyson

Torkwase Dyson is a painter whose compositions address the continuity of movement, climate change, infrastructure, and architecture. For Dyson these subjects in relationship to each other produce abstractions that explore the history and future of black spatial liberation strategies and environmental racism. Through abstract paintings, Dyson grapples with ways space is perceived and negotiated particularly by black and brown bodies. Explorations of how the body unifies, balances, and arranges itself to move through natural and built environments become both expressive and discursive structures within the work. Dyson builds the paintings slowly, accumulating washes and configuring minimal geometric elements through a process of improvisation and reflection. The paint-handling producing various surfaces using brushwork and other tools is made poetic by a juxtaposition of dense marks and scored, diagrammatic lines. This compositional rigor imbues the works with an architectural presence and optical gravity. In Dyson’s work the residue of grids and the evidence of hand moving in space creates a productive tension. This precarious arrangement along with subtle use of atmospheric color, contour lines, scale shifts in the paintings invite the eye to consider the conceptual and corporeal knowledge of space in real time. (

In the Rail:

Robert Shane

Robert R. Shane received his Ph.D. in Art History and Criticism from Stony Brook University where he studied with Donald Kuspit. Shane’s art criticism has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail and The Shambhala Times and his scholarly research has been published in the journal Hypatia. His current book project in process is Mirroring Mothers: Witnessing Maternal Subjectivity in Contemporary Art. Shane is Associate Professor of Art History at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York; former Managing Editor of the journal Art Criticism published by Stony Brook University; and a frequent contributor to art books published by Phaidon Press.

A headshot of poet Gabriel Palacios

Gabriel Palacios is a Tucson, Arizona based poet. His most recent work appears or is forthcoming in Fugue, DREGINALD, The Laurel Review and Poetry Northwest. He serves as an associate poetry editor at The Diagram, and as a contributing editor at The Volta.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.