Alums who do cool things: Orly Genger ’01 returns to Brown for installation, You

Orly Genger '01, with her 2013 piece Red, Yellow and Blue in Madison Square Park, NYC

Orly Genger ’01, with her 2013 piece Red, Yellow and Blue in Madison Square Park, NYC

Orly Genger ’01 has returned to campus for her newest site-specific installation, You. This 250-foot-long recycled lobster rope sculpture will transform the Quiet Green between University Hall and the Van Winkle Gates. The installation will be completed this Thursday, and the piece will remain on view through Summer 2015.

Orly, based in New York, is known for her large-scale hand-knotted rope installations. After receiving her BA from Brown in 2001, Orly went on to receive her post-baccalaureate degree from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002. Orly’s large-scale work has been displayed in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, and The Contemporary Austin. Orly’s largest installation to date, Red, Yellow and Blue, was installed at NYC’s Madison Square Park in May 2013, made out of 1.4 million feet of hand-crocheted rope.

Blog chatted with Genger as she worked on the project’s installation earlier this week:

BlogDH: What was the creative process like for this project? How did the collaboration with Brown start?

Genger: Brown approached me to come and do a piece here, so I came back, which has been a pleasure. I walked around and picked a location, and then drew out some ideas. This rope was originally from Red, Yellow and Blue, which was then made into a piece on the Chicago lakefront, and is now in its third life here.

BlogDH: What drew you to this location, out of the ones you surveyed?

Genger: There were a few options. This one seemed the best because I liked the amount of foot traffic in this spot, as well as the significance of being by the Gates. The proximity to the art department was also nice, because I spent so much of my time there and walked through this green so often as a student.

BlogDH: What was your experience at Brown like?

Genger: Brown for me was completely crucial to where I am today. If I didn’t have the experiences that I had at Brown, I don’t know if I’d be doing what I’m doing now. It created a real comfort zone to experiment and to try things that maybe otherwise I wouldn’t have tried. It gave me the space I needed to become an artist.

BlogDH: Were there any professors in particular who helped you grow as an artist?

Genger: I had several. Marlene Malik (Associate Professor of Visual Art, Emeritus), Jerry Mischak (RISD), Richard Fishman (Professor of Visual Art), and Wendy Edwards (Department Chair, Professor of Visual Art) were all very influential.

BlogDH: What’s it like being back on campus and in Providence? Has anything changed?

Genger: There’s a lot more of everything. Down in the city, there are a lot more restaurants — it feels more inhabited. It’s great to be back at Brown. It makes me miss my time here and wish I could go back and do it all over again. It’s a really beautiful campus. I don’t think I appreciated that at the time.

It’s refreshing. It reminds me of some of the inspiring moments I had while I was here — remembering when I fell in love with making art. It takes me back to a moment that was one of the most inspired times of my life.

BlogDH: Why rope?

Genger: I like the flexibility that it has. On the one hand, it’s malleable, and I can shape it with my hands. At the same time, I can create things that are hard, durable. The other attractive part of working with this material was that it was something I could physically do by myself, particularly when I first started and was working with yarn. It was something I could do on my own. And by mere accumulation I could create something on a larger scale.

BlogDH: What are your pieces inspired by?

Genger: My large scale work is usually site responsive. I’m trying to interact with either the physical location or the way people are using the space. It depends on the project, but I am interested in creating new spaces within already defined spaces.

BlogDH: What does the title You mean to you?

Genger: It came from my own response to recent work that I’ve done that took on the monolith form. They are sculptures you look up at. This project, in the shape of a “U”, really becomes activated by “you” — the people engaging with it. We have to take a more active role looking at the work instead of just standing as a viewer.

Join Orly this Friday, November 21, in conversation with Bell Gallery curator Alexis Lowry Murray, 5:30pm in the List Auditorium, followed by a reception at 6:15pm on the Quiet Green. View You on the Quiet Green starting this Thursday through Summer 2015. 

Image via.

Leave a Reply