Darlene Charneco Discusses ‘Symbiosome Schoolhouse’

Artist Darlene Charneco with her piece "Symbiont Arrival." Photo by Philippe Cheng.

The Parrish Art Museum presents East End-based Latinx artist Darlene Charneco (American, b. 1971) with Corinne Erni, Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Project, in a conversation about Charneco’s 2021 Parrish Road Show exhibition “Symbiosome Schoolhouse,” on Friday, October 8 at 6 p.m. at the museum in Water Mill. Charneco’s site-specific exhibition is on view through October 24 at Oysterponds Historical Society in Orient and it features, sculpture, new works on paper, and video, as well as the artist’s signature wall reliefs which she calls Touchmaps.

“Symbiosome Schoolhouse” includes new iterations of the artist’s ongoing series Weaves and Touchmaps, which are mixed-media, map-based wall reliefs that explore and navigate the layered spaces that humans and all planetary species inhabit. The large-scale, three-dimensional, patterned Touchmaps are designed to orient, sense, and express a world that shifts and changes through ever-expanding communication networks.

Charneco has developed her own tactile language of artmaking — such as hammering nails into wooden panels in a meditative process she describes as “renewing determination and rippling out positive hopes for humanity.” Several Touchmaps, wall-sculpture weaves, and Symbiosis Studies — a group of mixed-media works on paper — will be on view in the Schoolhouse.

Many of the mixed-media and sculptural works in Symbiosome Schoolhouse combine clusters of familiar structures in both material and virtual worlds. Charneco visualizes these spaces as part of adaptive living systems, what she refers to as a “Self-Assembling Memory Palace”—memories that are collectively created and more readily accessible. Her immersive virtual-world installation features avatars that move among buildings resembling a library and the Old Point Schoolhouse. The 3-minute and 14-second video loop was developed through the technique of machinima — using real-time, computer graphics animation engines. Finally, in a free-standing sculpture on the Schoolhouse lawn visible from the road, Charneco aggregated small wood and concrete structures — abstracted dwellings, portals, and building blocks that evoke memory, which the artist calls “stored information.”

Darlene Charneco (b. 1971, New York City) attended Stony Brook University for MFA studies, earned a BFA at Long Island University, Southampton. Exhibiting throughout the U.S. and globally, she participated in PINTA Fair London and the Korean International Art Fair. Charneco’s work is in Guild Hall Museum’s permanent collection and was featured in the Princeton Architectural Press book “The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography” by Katherine Harmon, and “How Architecture Learned to Speculate” by Mihall & Serbest through the University of Stuttgart. Charneco was awarded the 2017 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. She is represented by Praxis International Gallery in New York City and Longview Gallery in Washington, DC.

Advance ticket purchase with pre-event registration is required for Charneco’s talk. This indoor event requires all attendees to show proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test (within 72 hours). Medical-grade face masks must be worn at all times. Masks will be provided to anyone who needs one. The Parrish Art Museum is at 279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill. Visit parrishart.org for details.