Jennifer Rose Sciarrino: Jennifer Rose Sciarrino: for Swan

September 26, 2020 - October 31, 2020



­Daniel Faria Gallery is pleased to present for Swan, Jennifer Rose Sciarrino’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.

for Swan furthers Sciarrino’s material investigation of entanglement, threading her fictions with the ghosts of our ecological histories while weaving them into speculative futures.

In a new body of work, images of endangered lichen species are transformed in scale and reinterpreted in cast glass. The resulting sculptures haunt the walls, their translucent bodies creating shadows in hues of greens and browns with shifts in light. Their fading is a communication, a warning, a prelude. Molded first by hand in wax and clay, they still bear the markings of Sciarrino’s touch. Often barely distinguishable from the shapes of the lichen she replicates, her fingerprints are there all the same.

The result of a relationship between two partners – a fungus and an alga – so symbiotic that they have become a new organism, lichen demonstrate a reciprocity so deep that their very existence threatens our idea of modern individuality. Their growth patterns also pose a challenge to notions of linear temporality. Writer and anthropologist Anna Tsing writes of the indeterminate growth of fungus: “What if our indeterminate life form was not the shape of our bodies but rather the shape of our motions over time? Such indeterminacy expands our concept of human life, showing us how we are transformed by encounter.”[1] Lichen do not age according to a life span, but continue to spread their networks unless interrupted by their environment.

From the edges of the gallery the glass works are witness to a group of carved alabaster sculptures caught in the act of spooning, growing, becoming, holding, spewing, sprouting and cuddling. Whispers from a bio-techno-hybrid future, these organisms are intertwined but not necessarily in symbiosis. Have they joined of their own accord? Who or what has joined them, and for what end? In the splits, a frog embryo beginning to separate and an anther (or perhaps it’s a lizard tongue splitting into a fork?) come together in a strange embrace. Like a lost part, one fits into the other but the why remains unclear. A simultaneous coalescence and multiplication occur as two become one and two also become four.

Both critical of and curious about human intervention in natural processes, Sciarrino draws from science fiction to imagine a future where – for better or worse – organisms come together in varying degrees of communication, care and mutualism. This exhibition is dedicated to Swan, the Mercury-dwelling land artist and former asteroid biome and terraria builder from Kim Stanley Robinson’s novel 2312, but it is also dedicated to all the other characters that have lodged themselves in Sciarrino’s mind. Perhaps the title should read: for Swan, for Selver, for Lilith, for Essun, for Syenite, for Yeine, for Estraven, for Lauren and for mutter, mumble and murmur.


Jennifer Rose Sciarrino attained her BFA in 2006 at the School of Image Arts, Ryerson University. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include from root to lip at Mercer Union, Toronto (2019), Ruffled Follicles and a Tangled Tongue at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge (2019) and But both are sensitive at Projet Pangée, Montréal (2019). Her work has been included in exhibitions at venues including Art Museum, Toronto (2016); Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto, Mississauga (2015); Jackman Humanities Institute, Toronto (2015); Oakville Galleries (2015); Bâtiment d’art Contemporain, Genèva (2014); Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina (2014); and The Power Plant, Toronto (2011, 2013), among others. Her work was included in Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center (2020), curated by Brett Littman. Sciarrino lives and works in Toronto.

Jennifer would especially like to thank Marina Guglielmi and Tyler Balko of Maker Sculpture, Abby McGuane and the Ontario Arts Council for making this exhibition possible.


[1] Anna Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015.