Great State: The Rope Wrangler Leaves Her Artistic Mark In Oklahoma City

Great State
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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- A lobsterman in Maine might recognize a piece of this rope, so might a climber in Colorado.

"It's re-claimed," says artist Orly Genger, "for art."

But, woven together, only she had the vision to place these recycled strands in the middle of Campbell Park on the Oklahoma City prairie.

"I tried to think of this work as how a landscape would move," she says, "as opposed to how it just looks."

There is just under a million-and-a-half feet of rope here.

A couple of weeks ago 4 semi-trailers reeled it out at 11th and Broadway just north of downtown.

Orly wasn't here until this week to see it finished.

On its first official, opening day she was still getting used to the feel of an installation she began months ago in New York.

"It's always a surprise to see what it comes out to be at the end," she says, "because you plan and plan and it's still a little different."

Genger insists you're supposed to walk through it.

The color of the rope is meant to remind visitors of the red dirt beneath their feet.

There are lots of people who've referred to Oklahoma's landscape as flat and featureless.

Orly saw something else entirely.

She says, "I thought to myself, it would be interesting to do a piece that was kind of the opposite of the prairie, that had a tremendous amount of curves and was voluptuous and had this sense of height."

"I don't know that anyone has ever referred to Oklahoma's landscape as voluptuous before," chuckles a first time visitor.

"I don't think so either," she replies. "But that was the point. I hoped to do something that would, hopefully, compliment the landscape."

Think a windy day moving tall grass or the low rolling hills at dawn.

Terra, as this artwork it titled, moves with each step, and with the march of sun from east to west.

Genger is from New York.

Her rope has been dipped in the cold Atlantic and rubbed against the granite of the Rockies.

Somewhere between all those places, an artist many have come to call 'The Rope Wrangler' pulled the best kind of rope trick in Oklahoma City.

She made her rope twirl and loop without moving it at all.

'Terra' is the first art installation for the new headquarters of the Oklahoma City Contemporary Arts Center.

The old gallery and classroom space is at the fairgrounds. The new facility is under construction.

Genger's rope sculpture will we on display until October 2015.

For more information on the new arts center and 'Terra' go to

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