It was Oklahoma’s wide open spaces and famous red dirt that inspired New York artist Orly Genger to envision her latest rope sculpture “Terra.” Now the artist is building her massive art in Oklahoma City on October 20 to be the first installation on the future home of the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center.
Made of 1.4 million feet of recycled lobster-fishing rope, and painted with 350 gallons of terra cotta-colored paint, “Terra” will weave its way through the center section of Campbell Park, located at NW 11th and Broadway. The installation opens Monday, October 20, 2014, and runs through October, 2015.
“When visiting Oklahoma I was taken by the vastness of the open landscape and envisioned a line that would travel in a continual motion winding through the patch of land on which the work sits,” said Genger. The artist said the term “red dirt” inspired her color choice, “which relates both to the clay-like nature of the earth, and to the bricks with which we build walls.”
Dubbed the “rope wrangler,” Genger hand knits and shapes hundreds of miles of discarded lobster rope into massive sculptures that traverse the space and incorporate the landscape. Her art encourages visitors to explore the terrain in a new way and interact with the larger-than-life pieces.
Since 2005, Genger has completed several large-scale installations featuring colorful masses of hand-knotted rope. These include “Red, Yellow and Blue” in Madison Square Park, New York City and deCordova Sculpture Park in Boston and most recently, “Current” in Austin, Texas.
The artist’s transformation of discarded rope and its homage to Oklahoma is a fitting way to mark Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center’s move to downtown Oklahoma City. The center is moving from its longtime location on the state fairgrounds and building a new arts campus on a previously vacant lot at NW 11th and Broadway.
“I'm honored to be the first artist to exhibit near the future site of Oklahoma Contemporary,” said Genger. “This is an exciting time for the organization and for Oklahoma City; it's energizing to be a part of it.”
“Terra” is presented by Continental Resources and the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. Additional sponsors include St. Anthony Foundation, Automobile Alley Association, Mercedes Benz of Oklahoma City and Midtown Renaissance, MidFirst Bank, Skirvin Hotel, Allied Arts, Oklahoma Arts Council and Kirkpatrick Family Fund.