Perhaps a short blog post is not adequate to capture all that Orly Genger has going on right now, but it’s worth a try. Genger has transformed Madison Square Park with 1.4 million feet of hand-painted, intricately knotted and layered nautical rope pulled from all over the eastern seaboard.
Her installation titled “Red, Yellow and Blue” is staggering in scale and ambition, yet it’s very inviting. In spite of weighing in at over 100,000 pounds and utilizing more than 3,000 gallons of paint, Genger’s handiwork undulates through the park creating comfortable little sections and pockets of tranquility.
Up close, it becomes apparent that the installation is actually a gigantic macramé project. Anyone who has ever tried that particular craft will realize the absurd amount of work the creation of this piece must have involved. If you can’t imagine it, you can read about how she and her studio assistants spent two years picking lobster claws and seaweed out of the rope here. The scale of this work rivals that of super-masculine icon of minimalist sculpture, Richard Serra. The colors and title give a nod to Barnett Newman.
Though she’s best known for showing large accumulations of rope like those in “Red, Yellow and Blue” Genger’s studio work is diverse and offers interesting context for the rope installations. In her solo show titled, “Iron Maiden” at Larissa Goldston Gallery in Chelsea, she’s currently exhibiting cast bronze and aluminum sculptures of knots and superhero-ish figures. The knotted sculptures are convoluted and full of struggle: puzzle-like if trying to trace the path of the rope from one end to the other.
In her 2011 solo show titled “Big, Open, Empty” with the same gallery, she showed a series of large works on paper certainly inspired by the physical work involved in making the colossal piles of rope currently occupying Madison Square Park. These works depict disembodied arms of the muscular comic book variety, punching and struggling against each other.
As if all this weren’t enough, she’s also collaborated with jewelry designer Jaclyn Mayer to create an elegant line of rope-inspired accessories, so everyone can wear a little part of the struggle.
“Red, Yellow and Blue” will be on view in Madison Square Park in New York through September 8, 2013. “Iron Maiden” is on view at Larissa Goldston Gallery through June 22, 2013.
-Contributed by Kelly Inouye