AUGUST 28—OCTOBER 24, 2021 


The site-specific installation, exploring cohabitation between humans and nature, opens August 28 with a reception at Oysterponds Historical Society, Orient, NY

Darlene Charneco, Mutual Medicine Flower, 2020. Photo courtesy the artist


WATER MILL, NY 8/23/2021—For the tenth 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 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, largely made while Charneco was in residency at the William Steeple Davis Trust in Orient. Symbiosome Schoolhouse presents works on paper, sculpture, and video, as well as the artist’s signature wall reliefs which she calls Touchmaps.

Organized by Corinne Erni, Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects, in collaboration with the Oysterponds Historical Society, Symbiosome Schoolhouse is on view Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from August 28th until October 24th, 2021. A free, public reception takes place in the Old Point Schoolhouse on Saturday, August 28, from 3 to 5 PM. Please visit the Museum’s website for COVID guidelines.

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.


Darlene Charneco, House Readings, 2020, (detail) from the series

Weaves and Touchmaps.  Photo courtesy the artist


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 SymbiosisStudies—a group of mixed-media works on paper—will be on view in the Schoolhouse. 

Darlene Charneco, SymbioSchoolhouse (Future Memory Plasmid), 2021,

mixed media work on paper.  Photo courtesy the artist

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 MemoryPalace”—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: Symbiosome Schoolhouse

Off-site Exhibition  

August 28–October 24, 2021

Friday: 2–5 PM | Saturday: 11 AM–5 PM | Sunday: 2–5 PM

Oysterponds Historical Society

1555 Village Lane, Orient, NY 11957

Please visit the Parrish Art Museum’s website for COVID guidelines on vaccination/PCR test and other requirements.


Opening Reception:

Saturday, August 28, 3-5 pm

The Old Point Schoolhouse

The reception and exhibition are free and open to the public

Please visit the Museum’s website for COVID guidelines on vaccination/PCR test and other requirements.




Darlene Charneco with Corinne Erni, Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects

Onsite at Parrish Art Museum, and live-streamed

279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY

Please visit the Museum’s website for COVID guidelines on vaccination/PCR test and other requirements.

Parrish Road Show 2021, Darlene Charneco: Symbiosome Schoolhouse, is made possible, in part, by the generous support of Sandy and Stephen Perlbinder; and Jane Wesman and Donald Savelson. Public funding provided by Suffolk County.


Darlene Charneco

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.


Oysterponds Historical Society

The Oysterponds Historical Society (OHS) brings people together to share and celebrate the unique history and culture of Orient and East Marion. OHS was started in 1944 to preserve the historical significance of Orient and East Marion communities that was still largely populated by direct descendants of the European settlers three centuries before. OHS founding members were concerned about the gradual disappearance of Native American artifacts, documents, family records, tools, art, and other surviving evidence of the maritime, agricultural, cultural, and religious life of the early residents of this area. 


Parrish Road Show

Parrish Road Show is the Museum’s off-site project designed to encourage engagement and interaction between artists and the communities outside the Museum’s walls. Each year, selected artists work with the Parrish and partner venues to create new work and to provide unique opportunities for visitors to see and experience art in unexpected places, from public parks and highways to historical sites and community centers.


 Parrish Art Museum

Inspired by the natural setting and artistic life of Long Island’s East End, the Parrish Art Museum illuminates the creative process and how art and artists transform our experiences and understanding of the world and how we live in it. The Museum fosters connections among individuals, art, and artists through care and interpretation of the collection, presentation of exhibitions, publications, educational initiatives, programs, and artists-in-residence. The Parrish is a center for cultural engagement, an inspiration and destination for the region, the nation, and the world.



Parrish Art Museum construction photographs © Jeff Heatley.


AAQ / Resource: space(s) Landscape Architecture