Desire Lines, 2023Phragmites, steel wire, and rebar

Images: Alexa Hoyer, Byron Guinanzaca, Joyce S. Chan

Formed in the shape of New York waterway maps, these fences are handwoven with phragmites, an invasive European reed grass now thriving in North American wetlands. While phragmites impose monocultures and suppress native flora, they also, paradoxically, serve as a carbon sink, absorbing emissions, cleansing waterways, and enhancing storm resilience. This work addresses the complex factors of human-defined borders and the migration of species. In an era of rapid global change, the artist prompts us to consider who has the authority to determine the habitats for certain species.


Stefania Urist talks about Desire Lines in The Socrates Annual 2023

Video by KMDECO Creative. Courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park, 2023.


Stefania Urist’s conceptual interdisciplinary artwork centers around the complex relationship between humans and the environment. Her current sculptures and installations, and prints investigate topics such as deforestation, trees’ memories, symbiotic relationships, and invasive species migration using foraged plants and recycled industrial materials.

Urist earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2022, BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013, has attended multiple artist residencies and fellowships. Her dedication and skills are evident in the numerous grants and awards she has received to create new work in group and solo shows and sculpture gardens around the US.

Currently based in Londonderry, VT, Urist continues to create new work that challenges and inspires audiences to consider their relationship with the natural world.


Sep 30, 2023 – Mar 24, 2024 The Socrates Annual 2023