This Artist Creates Colorful Installations That Transform Public Spaces
How does Megan Geckler describe her work? "Imagine living in the movie Tron and being on acid." It's a fair summation; her grid sculptures of neon green, blue, yellow, and red are trippy spectacles worthy of science fiction. Geckler's secret weapon: strands of thin tape that transform empty spaces into alternate universes of dense color. We asked the 41-year-old about her linear thinking.
Raising the Flag
In 1999, Geckler moved to the Los Angeles area from Philadelphia to pursue a master's degree in sculpture. One semester in, she was itching to experiment with unconventional materials. So it was out with art supply shops and in with hardware stores, which is where Geckler stumbled upon a roll of colored tape in a dusty bin. Her fortuitous discovery was flagging tape, nonadhesive plastic ribbon for demarcating construction zones. Says Geckler, "When I learned it was mostly used by men in architecture and engineering, I decided it'd be ballsy for a woman to repurpose it in an art context—and I love a good challenge."
One of Geckler's funnels, Fill it up and pour it down the inside, from 2006.
Geckler's installations—a two-story blue and green funnel, a rainbow-hued cube—begin with a site visit, whether that's to a gallery or an airport terminal. "People usually take a straight course from door to door," says Geckler, "so when I conceptualize my design, I try to knock them off their A-to-B path, forcing them to investigate unused nooks and crannies." Geckler plots the exact order and location of each strand, all of which are precisely placed with mathematical sequences and geometry. She aims to create immense, immersive environments, using up to nine miles of tape in a single project. "I want viewers to have a moment of wormhole travel," she says.
Next in Line
Seventeen years after her plastic epiphany, Geckler still has a long list of places both prestigious and pedestrian she'd like to give her swirls-and-stripes treatment. "I dream about creating a canopy for a kid's bed," she says. "If you woke up with a pixel matrix above your head, how could you not have a great day?"