Patrick Dougherty is an American sculptor whose medium is saplings! My obsession with his work began back in 2007, when he did an installation on the facade of the former Max Azria store on Melrose, titled “Just for Looks”.
Daugherty’s installation made me imagine a landscape of neatly rolled-up hay bales, let loose by a crazy windstorm! And like a lot of people, I looked at the swirling movement he gave the saplings and thought of the clouds in Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Although this gorgeous sheathing of willow branches is no longer there, in my memory this remains the most fantastic storefront of all time. Thankfully, Daugherty is always hard at work, installing huge, elaborate sculptures made out of sticks all over the world.
Call of the Wild at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, 2002-2003
Each work takes about three weeks to install, and involves a whole team of local volunteers, who all seem to have an incredible experience working quietly alongside the artist.
Running In Circles at the TICKON Sculpture Park in Denmark, 1996-1998
One of the things I love about Patrick Dougherty’s story is that although he had a life-long love of nature and building things, it wasn’t until he was a grad student in his late thirties that he started sculpting out of saplings. In the thirty or so years since, he has completed over 200 installations. How is that for inspiration?
Paradise Gate at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, 2001
The installations are sturdy, but being organic, they might change with the seasons and are ultimately ephemeral.
Holy Rope at the Rinjyo-in Temple in Chiba, Japan, 1992-1994
Fascinating, right? If you would like to know more about Patrick Dougherty and his work, visit his web-site, buy his monograph, Stickwork, and read this wonderful 2010 profile of him from the New York Times. Bending Sticks is a recent feature-length documentary about the artist that I can’t wait to see for more inspiration.
Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6