Patrick Dougherty: Step Right Up

Exhibition Website

Oct 27 2017 - Aug 31 2019

In the fall of 2017, the Ackland Art Museum will commission its first major site-specific, outdoor art installation in nearly 20 years: a “stickwork” by Chapel Hill-based artist Patrick Dougherty. As yet untitled, the large-scale work will be made entirely of tree saplings and constructed in front of the Ackland Art Museum at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dougherty’s work will follow the exhibition of Los Trompos in front of the Ackland, and will similarly activate the Museum’s outdoor public space. Construction of the piece will begin on Monday, October 9, 2017, and continue through Friday, October 27, 2017.

The tree saplings—primarily maple and gum—used to make the piece will be responsibly harvested from Duke Forest and Triangle Land Conservancy, organizations with which Patrick Dougherty has long relationships.

A call for volunteers to help with the harvesting of saplings will go out in mid- to late August 2017. Check this page for updates or sign up for the Ackland’s eNews to receive updates.

Owing to the organic material used and the outdoor setting, Dougherty’s piece is a temporary installation, expected to be on view through August 31, 2018.

Born in Oklahoma in 1945, Patrick Dougherty was raised in North Carolina. He earned a B.A. in English from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1967 and later returned to study art history and sculpture. His first work, Maple Body Wrap, was included in the North Carolina Biennial Artists’ Exhibition of 1982. The following year, he had his first one-person show at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Over time, Dougherty developed the monumental-scale environmental works for which he is now famous. In the last thirty years, he has built over 280 of these works—around the United States and all over the world—and has received international acclaim.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

Whether or not you go, Stickwork preserves the legend of the man who weaves the simplest of materials into a singular artistic triumph. Using minimal tools and a simple technique of bending, interweaving, and fastening together sticks, artist PatrickDougherty creates works of art inseparable with nature and the landscape. Constructed on-site using locally sourced materials and local volunteer labor, Dougherty's sculptures are tangles of twigs and branches that have been transformed into something unexpected and wild, elegant and artful, and often humorous. Stickwork features thirty-eight of his organic, dynamic works that twist the line between architecture, landscape, and art. 

To add this beautiful monograph to your library, click here: Stickwork

  • Sculpture
  • American
  • Contemporary
  • Patrick Dougherty

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