School of Oil and Water: Contributing Artists

Kate Joranson engages with environments by offering mindful attention, documenting sites that have been cared for and repaired. She cultivates creative modes of discovery that are rooted in listening and attention and critically engage geographic peripheries. Questions are both central and material in her practice. She has exhibited at the Drawing Center, the Mattress Factory and orchestrates collaborative works that exist outside gallery spaces, inviting people to encounter her work in libraries, mailboxes, and the built environment.

Skye Fort is a multidisciplinary artist originally from New Mexico and currently in Philadelphia. After getting a BA in acting from the University of New Mexico, Skye spent 8 years working in Chicago theatre before moving to Baltimore Maryland to pursue her MFA at Towson University. As a result of going to grad school for theatre during a pandemic, she discovered and fell in love with video art and installation. Skye is a company member at Trap Door Theatre in Chicago IL, and a founding member of the Albuquerque based performance art collective “So This is Art.” Recent credits include “Twelfth Night” (The Wilma 2023),“Disaster Theatre” (Brick Theatre 2023), “Queer. Futures. Past: I’m a Ghost And So Are You” (Current Space 2022), “What If” (Trap Door Theatre 2022), “Could Have Been/Someone” (Towson University 2022). You can find out more about Skye and her work at

Liz Ensz was born in Minnesota to a resourceful family of penny-savers, metal scrappers, and curators of cast-offs. Liz received a BFA in Fiber from the Maryland Institute College of Art (2005), and an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2013). With an interdisciplinary approach, their works of installation, textiles, and sculpture present a comparative study of the mass-cultural investment in disposability and the human desire to imagine permanence through emblems, monuments, and commemoration. In the fall of 2018, Ensz joined the Maryland Institute College of Art as a full-time faculty in Fiber.

Ensz has exhibited their work internationally, including The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK; Frontviews Gallery, Berlin, Germany; HTW University of Applied Sciences School of Art and Culture, Berlin, Germany; Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, MN; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY; Roots and Culture Contemporary Art Center, Chicago, IL; Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA; The Mission, Chicago, IL; Unsmoke Systems, Pittsburgh, PA; The Current Space, Baltimore, MD; and Goucher College, Baltimore, MD.

They have been awarded residencies at The John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Program in Foundry, Sheboygan, WI; Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, MN; Salem Art Works, Salem, NY: Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL; Playa, Summer Lake, OR; LATITUDE, Chicago, IL; and Blue Mountain Center, Blue Mountain Lake, NY. Among other awards, they have been the recipient of City of Chicago DCASE Individual Artist Grant, The Creative Baltimore Fund Grant, The Clare Rosen and Samuel Edes Fellowship Semi-finalist Prize, The Gilroy Roberts Fellowship for Engraving, and The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Travel Fellowship.

Lindsey french (she/they) is an artist, educator and writer whose work engages in multi- sensory signaling within ecological and technological systems. She has shared her work widely in museums, galleries, screenings, and diy art spaces including at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), the International Museum of Surgical Science (Chicago), Pratt Manhattan Gallery (New York), SixtyEight Art Institute (Copenhagen), the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan), and Onsite Gallery (Toronto). Recent publications include chapters for Ambiguous Territory: Architecture, Landscape, and the Postnatural (Actar, 2022), Olfactory Art and The Political in an Age of Resistance (Routledge, 2021), Why Look at Plants (Brill, 2019), and poetry for the journal Forty-Five. They earned an interdisciplinary BA with a focus in Environment, Interaction, and Design (Hampshire College), and an MFA in Art and Technology Studies (School of the Art Institute of Chicago). Based in the prairie landscape of Treaty 4 territory in Regina, Saskatchewan since 2021, french teaches as an Assistant Professor in Creative Technologies in the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance at the University of Regina.

Alex Young is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and curator whose research-based practice examines ruderal ecologies, systems, species, and spaces as well as forms of human and other-than-human co-creation. Solo and collaborative projects have been presented internationally at numerous venues, including: 4GROUND: Midwest Land Art Biennial, US; Radiophrenia, CCA Glasgow, Scotland; Beyond/ In Western New York Biennial, US; Kiasma Museum, Helsinki, Finland; Spanien 19C, Aarhus, Denmark; ACC Galerie, Weimar, Germany; Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, US. Curatorial projects include “Ruderal Futures” at SixtyEight Art Institute, Denmark; “GROPING in the DARK” at MOCA Tucson, US; and “Universal Dissolvent: Fragments from the Southern California Megalopolis” at San Diego Art Institute, US. Recent editorial and writing projects include “Ecology of Bad Ideas” for Drain Magazine and “A brief constellation towards a ruderal futurism” for Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research.

Ginger Brooks Takahashi is a transdisciplinary artist and educator. Her performance, installation, and site responsive works examine our relationships to the mediums that connect us. These public projects are platforms for intimate interaction, an extension of feminist and queer praxis. She received her BA from Oberlin College, 1999; and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program, 2007. She has exhibited at institutions including Carnegie Museum of Art, 2020; Oakland Museum of California, 2019; Jewish Museum, 2016; Tensta Konsthall, 2015; Brooklyn Museum, 2013; Museo Tamayo, 2010; New Museum, 2009; amongst others. Most recently, she created a permanent public artwork for Schenley Park in Pittsburgh and a collaboration with Dana Bishop-Root for Counterpublic, St Louis 2023.

Nica Ross is an artist and cultural producer via Brooklyn, NY, San Francisco, CA and Tempe, AZ. Their creative research challenges normative ideologies and social constructions that are reinforced by technology, performance and play. This work takes multiple forms: video installation, performance, gayming, sporting and more. The continuity across these forms is an invitation that is inherent in each piece.

Nica holds a B.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State University and an M.F.A. in Advanced Photographic Study from The International Center of Photography, Bard College program. Nica has worked in video, theater and event production on both commercial and artistic projects for over 15 years. As a collaborator they have worked with 3-Legged Dog Media & Theater Group, The Joshua Light Show along with many individual artists. Presently they are Associate Professor of Video and Media Design in the CMU School of Drama and Director of the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry.

Fereshteh Toosi designs experiences and art objects that pose questions and foster animistic connections. Their artwork often involves documentary processes, oral history, and archival research. They produce immersive performances in conjunction with small sculptures, short films, installations, scores, and poetry, often situating them in gardens, parks, and waterways.

Fereshteh earned a Knight New Work 2020 award for their project Oil Ancestors, and a Miami Live Arts Lab Alliance residency to develop Metaphysical Hotline, a performance by telephone for an audience of one. Fereshteh’s project Water Radio: Liquid Intelligence is a series of contemplative canoe and kayak outings supported by The Ellies Creator Award in 2018.