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The Organic Public Artworks of Patrick Dougherty

While wood is a common sculpting material, Patrick Dougherty uses it with a completely unconventional approach. For over 30 years, Dougherty has been been creating nest-like public art installations from tree saplings that keep the materials in their raw form instead of carving into them to create something new. As if woven by an enormous bird or squirrel, Dougherty's installations mesh with their surroundings. The artist mostly works in outdoor settings, endowing parks and gardens with a spark of the surreal. His installations often join existing trees and architecture, adding a sculptural dimension to the surrounding flora. Take a look at some of his installations from 1990 to today after the jump.


Childhood Dreams. 2007. Desert Botanic Garden, Phoenix, AZ. Photo by Adam Rodriguez.

While wood is a common sculpting material, Patrick Dougherty uses it with a completely unconventional approach. For over 30 years, Dougherty has been been creating nest-like public art installations from tree saplings that keep the materials in their raw form instead of carving into them to create something new. As if woven by an enormous bird or squirrel, Dougherty’s installations mesh with their surroundings. The artist mostly works in outdoor settings, endowing parks and gardens with a spark of the surreal. His installations often join existing trees and architecture, adding a sculptural dimension to the surrounding flora. Take a look at some of his installations from 1990 to today below.


Catawampus. 2008. LA Country Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Arcadia, Ca. Photo by Michelle Gerdes.


Just Around the Corner. 2003. New Harmony, Indiana (winter and summer). Photos by Doyle Dean.


Na Hale ‘Eo Waiawi. 2003. The Contemporary Art Museum, Honolulu, HI. Photo by Paul Kodama


Round About. 1997. Tallaght Community Arts Centre, Dublin, Ireland. Photo by Karl Browne.

Running in Circles. 1996. TICKON Sculpture Park, Langeland, Denmark. Photo by Hatten 18


So Inclined. 2007. Middlebury College. Middlebury, VT. Photo by Ted Merrick.

Summer Palace. 2009. Morrison Arboretum, Philadelphia, PA. Photo by Rob Cardillo.

Spinoffs. 1990. DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA. Photo by George Vasquez

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