Darlene Charneco’s ‘Symbiosome Schoolhouse’ Hits the Road

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

For the 10th season of its offsite exhibition series “Parrish Road Show,” the Parrish Art Museum invited East End-based Latinx artist Darlene Charneco (American, b. 1971) to create a site-specific exhibition at Oysterponds Historical Society in Orient, on the North Fork of Long Island. The multi-dimensional installation “Symbiosome Schoolhouse” opens August 28 and extends the artist’s life-long practice of examining human settlements, forms of interaction, and evolution through a biological lens. On view in both the Old Point Schoolhouse and on the Historical Society grounds, the exhibition features newly created works on paper, sculpture, and video, as well as the artist’s signature wall reliefs which she calls “Touchmaps.” The work was largely made while Charneco was in residency at the William Steeple Davis Trust in Orient.

Darlene Charneco, “House Readings, 2020,” from the series “Weaves and Touchmaps.” Photo by Jason Paradis.

Charneco is immersed in symbiosis research: she observes the natural world and studies symbiotic evolution. Indeed, she considers her practice an ongoing contemplation of “Symmathesy,” a term coined by writer/educator Nora Bateson that means “learning together.” The exhibition’s title refers to these phenomena, as well as the ways in which the tactile, “real world” collides with virtual spaces of learning. Bringing all these investigations together, Charneco’s work explores multiple layers of time and space. It addresses how species — individually and in groups — adapt, adjust, and shift spaces (symbiosomes) to learn how to better connect and support one another across distances.

Organized by senior curator Corinne Erni in collaboration with the Oysterponds Historical Society, “Symbiosome Schoolhouse” opens with a free, public reception in the Old Point Schoolhouse on Saturday, August 28, from 3 to 5 p.m. The show is on view Fridays through Sundays, August 28 to October 24. Oysterponds Historical Society is at 1555 Village Lane in Orient. On Friday, October 8, at p.m., Darlene Charneco will take part in an Artist Talk with Corinne Erni at the Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill. The talk will also be live streamed. For more information, visit parrishart.org.