Orly Genger: Full Enclosure

 A section of Orly Genger's  massive installation at Madison Square Park

Back in 2008 I did a blog post on Danielle Julian-Norton’s sculptural wall of stacked translucent amber bars of Neutrogena at the Cynthia Reeves Gallery in Chelsea, calling her The Serra of Soap. Now I might call Orly Genger the Serra of Rope, for her massive installation of crocheted and knotted sculptures, installed currently at Madison Square Park. But I don't want my offhandedness to diminish either artist in any way, as they are very much their own women, handing conventional materials in very unconventional ways. 
Genger’s Red, Yellow and Blue, is a massive installation of crocheted and knotted sculptures that embraces—pretty much literally—4500 square feet of Madison Square Park, a lovely greensward just north of the Flatiron building. Three separate environments of looped, stacked and painted lobster-fishing rope (the project was underwritten in part by the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation) interact dramatically with the landscape.
What you see of the project as you approach Madision Square Park

Red wends it way around the trees at the southernmost end of the park. At the northern end, Yellow undulates around the perimeter of a green lawn. Blue, between them, starts out as a massive wall but mimics the vegetation it surrounds, sending out tendrils into the grass.
The installation is up through September 8. It's open to the public and it's free. Go!

 Here's the same wall on the other side of the tree . . . 

. . . and as it continues, foreground, to encircle a section of park

 A composite panorama giving you a sense of the expanse. Click pic to see the pano large

At the northern end of the park, bordered by 26th Street, the Yellow segment is installed. You can just see it, below, peeking up past the playground. Here the undulations are more vertically oriented in a rolling crawl. Because of the location, there are inevitable associations to hills and hay bales, yet the size and palette bring to mind associations to Richard Serra and Barnett Newman respectively. 

Approaching the park from the northern edge of the park

Yellow viewed from inside the enclosure . . .

. . . and from outside . . .

. . . and from the outside looking in
Blue is installed at midpark, just at the point where Broadway crosses over Fifth Avenue.  While there were plenty of folks fully engaged with the work, others seemed completely oblivious to the effort. Well, at least they give you a sense of scale.

View from the west side of the part. (Foodie alert: Mario Batali's Eataly is across the street.)

This is one termination point of the wall, visible also below

What those bench sitters were totally unaware of was the fabulosity on the other side of the wall . . .

 . . . whose mass dispersed into runners that mimicked the abundant vegetation

Specifics and links:
. 1.4 million feet of nautical rope were used to make the sculptures
. The sculptures were hand crocheted and knotted by hand by Genger and a team of assistants over two years
. The forms are covered in more than 3500 gallons of paint
. A review in the New York Times has more info and a slide show of great pics
. The Larissa Goldston Gallery, which represents Genger, has another great selection of pictures
. Info about the sculptures, the artist, the materials and event times are on the Madison Square Park website


Following Up, Part 3: "Swept Away"

Elise Wagner, three by Tracey Adams, two by Cherie Mittenthal, Lorraine Glessner, Toby Sisson diptych
While I'm still in catch-up mode, I want to show you an exhibition I participated in earlier this season. From May 18-June 23, the Cape Cod  Museum of Art mounted Swept Away: Translucence, Transparence, Transcendence in Contemporary Encaustic. Curator Michael Giaquinto selected 31 artists from around the country whose work focuses on that most salient aspect of encaustic painting: light.
The exhibition was held in conjunction with the International Encaustic Conference, an annual event I founded and now run in conjunction with Cherie Mittenthal and Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. As I take you around I'll tell you a bit about the show and how it came about.
The Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, Massachusetts, nestled in the crook of the elbow of the arm that is Cape Cod
In June 2011 I visited the museum to see an installation by Lorrie Fredette. No photography was allowed so I asked to speak to the person in charge. That person was the curator, Michael Giaquinto. When I introduced myself as the director of the International Encaustic Conference, where I'd just come from, Giaquinto replied, "I love encaustic!" I recapped for him the highlights of the 11-day event (three days of actual Conference in Provincetown preceded and followed by workshops at Castle Hill in Truro). We exchanged cards. A few days later he called with this invitation: "Let's have an exhibition." Whoa, I don't know if it works like that at MoMA, but this was surprisingly collegial and easy.

The process started almost immediately, though the show was scheduled for 2013. Since luminosity is one of the hallmarks of this medium, we settled on a theme that would involve translucence. Though Giaquinto didn't immediately offer the large skylit gallery, I knew it would be the perfect setting for an exhibition about light. He agreed.
Fast forward to May 2013: The skylit gallery during the installation of Swept Away 
Curator Michael Giaquinto installing the wall you see below
Foreground: Achromatic works by Mittenthal, Glessner, Sisson
Cherie Mittenthal, Weather 
 Toby Sisson, A Coded Language 

Infinite Growth by Catherine Nash, below, not visible in the picture, is at the far left on the wall
Here's how Giaqinto introduces the work in his foreword to the catalog: "As we visually separate the image from the material, we realize all that is contained on the surface and below the surface . . . Like the light itself, we move in and out of the layers of wax and pigment only to be encouraged to look more."
Continuing down the first long wall with color and geometry: Lynn Basa, two by Karen Freedman, Anne Cavanaugh, partial view of Lynda Ray painting
Looking more: Karen Freedman, Ruche 0352.55 
Continuing still along the first long wall: Lynda Ray, two by Howard Hersh, Joanne Mattera; back wall: David A. Clark, Nancy Natale
Looking more: Lynda Ray, Fracture, two from Howard Hersh's Pulse series; my Rummu
Swinging around: Clark, Natale; second long wall: Laura Moriarty sculpture and prints, Dawna Bemis, Michael Billie, Sarah Mast
Looking more: David A. Clark, Color Up; Nancy Natale, Rouge
Laura Moriarty, Volcanic Mountain sculpture and prints 
Sara Mast, Between Stars

 Right wall, from foreground to midpoint: Two by Lisa Pressman, two by Donna Hamil Talman, Milisa Galazzi, Jane Guthridge, Paula Roland 
Donna Hamil Talman, Evolving

Foreground: Milisa Galazzi, Waggle Dance

View of wall with two by Sara Nast (partial view), Paula Roland, two by Jane Guthridge, Galazzi, two by Talman, two by Pressman
Looking more: Jane Guthridge, Milisa Galazzi

Cornered: Pressman, Binnie Birstein, Lorrie Fredette, Jane Allen Nodine, Gregory Wright; swinging around: Cecile Chong, Linda Cordner
Looking more: Binnie Birstein, What Lies Beneath 
Another view of the second long wall, from foreground: Jane Allen Nodine, Lorrie Fredette, Birstein;
detail of Nodine's Venetian Lace .019 below

Swinging around to the wall that's at your back when you enter: Nodine, Wright; Chong, Cordner, Marybeth Rothman, Elena De La Ville
Linda Cordner, Teal Dusk 
Elena De La Ville, Torso/Leaf
With Giaquinto's blessing the Swept Away artists are now looking to travel this show. Since we come from 17 states covering every area of the country, there's a chance you'll get to see the reconstituted version in your area. 
In the meantime the catalog for Swept Away is fully viewable online (I wrote the essay).  A review by J. Fatima Martins in Artscope, a New England arts and culture magazine, is below. Click pics to readable size


Real-life Marketing Mondays


From an installation by Kristin Texeira. Photo: Stacey Piwinski

As you travel through the art world, you never know whom you'll influence or be influenced by. With teaching there's always the likelihood that what you offer will be taken to heart. So it is the case with Kristin Texeira, a young artist who was my student in Senior Seminar at Massachusetts College of Art a few years ago.

Now living in Brooklyn, Texiera returned to Massachusetts with Memory Lane, an installation of 400 5 x 3.5-inch paintings on paper at Lincoln Arts Project in Waltham, Mass., in which she recalls "everyone I can remember interacting with during my four years at MassArt" each with a small written memory. Can you see what she wrote about me? "Taught us how to be artists in the real world." This is real-life Marketing Mondays. And I can see she's learned those lessons well. Congratulations, Kristin!

 The show is up through August 3.

Special thanks to Stacey Piwinski for posting the photos on Facebook, from which I have shamelessly taken them and reposted them here