Mel Chin (F '95)

Mel Chin was born in Houston, Texas. He is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. He developed Revival Field (1989-ongoing), a project that pioneered the field of "green remediation," the use of plants to remove toxic, heavy metals from the soil. His nationwide Fundred Dollar Bill Project continues to engage and present the public will for an end of childhood lead-poisoning. 

Mel Chin is an artist resistant to any branding that may fence in his capacity to execute iconic sculptures in any known medium , engage in any territory toxic or social, encourage in any alternative field, the expansion and generational transfer of ideas. 

His work is exhibited extensively in the U.S. and abroad and was documented in the popular PBS program, Art 21: Art of the 21st Century. Mel is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including four honorary doctorates. A traveling retrospective exhibition of his work, titled ReMatch, opened at the New Orleans Museum of Art in February, 2014. As a follow up to ReMatch which explored his mutative stragtegies, a solo comprehensive survey, “ALL OVER the PLACE ” organized by No Longer Empty and the Queens Museum, is being planned for citywide manifestations for the Spring of 2018.


Torkwase Dyson

Torkwase Dyson was born in Chicago Illinois, and spent her developmental years between North Carolina and Mississippi. Traversing these regions helped develop a fundamental sensitivity towards urban development, southern landscape and black spatial justice. During her years at Tougaloo College where she majored in Sociology and double minored in Social Work and Fine Art, she began to examine the spatial dynamics of black history and environmental justice. Over the next 10 years, Dyson traveled to Africa and South and Central America to strategize with communities of color on ways to attain resource equality. During this time she earned her Bachelors in Fine Arts in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Masters in Fine Arts in Painting from Yale School of Art. In 2016 Dyson designed and built Studio South Zero (SSZ) a solar-powered mobile studio where the context of nomadicity became the framework for learning and making art about the environment. It was traveling with SSZ that inspired her experimental project The Wynter-Wells Drawing School for Environmental Justice where she explores contemporary theorizations of space, architecture and the infrastructure of extraction economies.

Though working through multiple mediums, Torkwase 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 order. Dyson’s work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran College of Art and Design, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Dyson has been awarded the Nancy Graves Grant for Visual Artists, Visiting Artist grant to the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, the Culture Push Fellowship for Utopian Practices, Eyebeam Art and Technology Center Fellowship, and the FSP/Jerome Fellowship. Dyson’s work has also been supported by The Drawing Center, Lower Manhattan Cultural Center, The Laundromat Projects, the Green Festival of New York, the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia, The Kitchen, and the Rebuild Foundation. In 2016 Dyson was elected to the board of the Architecture League of New York as Vice President of Visual Arts. Torkwase is now based in Brooklyn, New York and is a visiting critic at Yale School of Art. 

William E. Jones

William E. Jones is an artist, filmmaker, and writer born in Ohio and now living in Los Angeles. He has made the experimental films Massillon (1991) and Finished (1997), the documentary Is It Really So Strange? (2004), videos including The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (1998), and many other moving image works. His most recent film, Fall into Ruin, concerns the art dealer and collector Alexander Iolas (1907-1987) and his abandoned house in Athens.

Jones’s work has been the subject of retrospectives at Tate Modern, London (2005); Anthology Film Archives, New York (2010); Austrian Film Museum, Vienna, and Oberhausen Short Film Festival (2011). He participated in the Whitney Biennials of 1993 and 2008, and in the 2009 Venice Biennale.

Jones has published the following books: Is It Really So Strange? (2006), Tearoom (2008), Heliogabalus (2009), Selections from The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton (2009),“Killed”: Rejected Images of the Farm Security Administration (2010), Halsted Plays Himself (2011), Between Artists: Thom Andersen and William E. Jones (2013), Imitation of Christ, named one of the best photo books of 2013 by Time magazine, Flesh and the Cosmos (2014), and True Homosexual Experiences: Boyd McDonald and Straight to Hell (2016).

Mario Ybarra Jr.

Mario Ybarra Jr. was born in Los Angeles in 1972 and lives in Wilmington, California. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Otis College of Art and Design in 1999 and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Irvine in 2001. One-person exhibitions of his work have been presented at the Boone Family Art Gallery at the Center for Arts, Pasadena City College, Pasadena, CA (2015); Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA (2013); Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA (2012); Artpace, San Antonio, TX (2009); Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2008); and the Capp Street Project, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, CA (2007). His work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as L.A. Exuberance: New Gifts by Artists, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Tastemakers & Earthshakers: Notes from Los Angeles Youth Culture, 1943–2016, Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College, Monterey Park, CA (2016); Walkers: Hollywood Afterlives in Art and Artifact, Museum of the Museum Image, New York, NY (2015); Global Positioning Systems, Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL (2015); Trouble with the Index, UCR ARTSblock, Riverside, CA (2014); The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project, Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), Mobile, AL (2014); The Past is Present, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MI (2013); Around the Table: Food, Creativity, and Community, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA (2013); Made in L.A. 2012, organized by the Hammer Museum in collaboration with LAXART, Los Angeles, CA (2012); Possible Worlds: Mario Ybarra Jr., Karla Diaz, and Slanguage Studio Select from the Permanent Collections, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2011); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2008); Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2008); The World as a Stage, Tate Modern, London, UK (2007); California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2006); Grey Flags, Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY (2006); Uncertain States of America, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway (2005); and 100 Artists See God, The Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA (2004).


Bio courtesy of Honor Fraser, image courtesy of Lluvia Higuera