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Stop by and engage with these amazing
sculptures, which were conjured up during
Oldenburg's fall 2019 residency at MFTA.
During the residency, she was granted
unlimited access to the supplies in MFTA's
35,000-square-foot warehouse of donated
materials to incorporate in her exhibit.
“Oldenburg is able to show how the shapes
and textures of modern, human-made
materials reflect beautiful, natural occurrence.
Her sculpture of giant orange tubes forms a
massive, 31-foot-long organic sea creature,
humanoid form that interlaces wall pieces that
feel like they could be fossils or a coral reef,”
said MFTA Director of Education John Cloud
Kaiser oversees the Artist-in-Residence
program, which provides support and studio
space for creatives whose practice involves
the out-of-the-box reuse of materials.
“MFTA has been exceedingly supportive
and the resources have been incredible.
There’s a really strong sense of community
that can sometimes be difficult to find,” said
Oldenburg. “I feel very grateful for being able
to participate. I also love being able to access
an enormous quantity of supplies without
feeling a financial burden.”
Her masterpieces, many of which include
complex configurations of knotted ropes
and string, range in size from 13 inches to 31
feet. Made from ventilation tubing and rope,
her humongous (aforementioned) sculpture
called “Shoe Lace” — which extends the length
of one gallery wing — is the largest work to be
installed in the MFTA gallery to date.
“Whitney Oldenburg truly transformed
the materials from our warehouse to make
works that are powerful examples of and
advocates for creative reuse and sustainable
art making,” said MFTA Education Associate
Omar Olivera, who helps coordinate the
residency program. “Even though the
materials that the works are made of are still
apparent — rope, rock, paint — the pieces
are beings unto themselves, with their own
internal structure and logic.”
Kaiser added, “Thanks to the MFTA Artist-in-
Residence program, we are able to showcase
how top artists can transform reused materials
into the highest works of art.”
Oldenburg has a master’s from Rhode Island
School of Design. Her work has been shown in
New York City, Chicago, Richmond, Houston,
Miami and Ottawa.
“Loose Ends” will be on view at the MFTA
gallery (33-00 Northern Blvd., 3rd Floor)
until Friday, March 6. The gallery’s hours are
Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
and its phone number is 718-729-2088.
Photos courtesy of Whitney Oldenburg