Jenni Ward: Lichen Series, 2014-2021
The Lichen Series is inspired by the biological structures and growth patterns of mushrooms, fungus & lichen and the patterns the spores leave behind. The forms are based on a type of shelf fungus that has a leathery surface and wedge shaped form that anchors itself to the side of decaying trees. I’ve used these forms to create site specific pieces for both indoor at the Grants Pass Museum of Art and an outdoor installation at the Price Sculpture Forest, as well as on found wood which came from fallen trees and structures.
Conceptually, mushrooms speak of the cycle of life and death, since mycelium begins breaking down the dead waste in nature and the fruits of the mycelium (the mushrooms) are the new growth that comes from it. The spores that are dropped from the mushroom gills spread the growth and the cycle continues. Mycelium are some of the largest living organisms on earth stretching underground over miles of terrain creating networks of communication throughout the landscape. This network makes them a symbol of growth through connection and how we are all connected to each other and to the systems and structures of nature.