Chicago

Torkwase Dyson, Joni Lee Blackman, 2018, diptych, acrylic on canvas, each 84 × 72".

Torkwase Dyson, Joni Lee Blackman, 2018, diptych, acrylic on canvas, each 84 × 72".

Torkwase Dyson

Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Torkwase Dyson, Joni Lee Blackman, 2018, diptych, acrylic on canvas, each 84 × 72".

Colliding abstract shapes dominate the seven canvases that constituted Torkwase Dyson’s exhibition “James Samuel Madison.” The title of the show gestured toward the symbology of the shapes: Madison is the artist’s maternal grandfather, who migrated from the American South to the North as a child and who personifies, for Dyson, the politics of migration and movement that she formally explores in her paintings. In the gallery’s press release, Dyson explained that “the body unifies, balances, and arranges itself to move through space . . . a skill used in the service of self-emancipation within hostile geographies.” In the exhibition, however, each painting’s composition was agitated, vigorously asymmetrical and willfully unbalanced. Prudently wrought in tones of black, white, and gray, Dyson’s nonpictorial vocabulary was subjected to destabilization, repetition, multiplication,

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