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Patrick Dougherty’s Site-Specific Sculpture at the Morris Arboretum
April 14, 2009, Volume 55, No. 29

Artist in Residence Patrick Dougherty is in the process of creating a unique, abstract sculpture during a three-week on-site residency at the Morris Arboretum. Working with volunteers and staff, Mr. Dougherty is weaving hundreds of sticks and saplings into a whimsical site-specific creation along the banks of the Wissahickon Creek in the Arboretum’s Butcher Sculpture Garden. See the progress at the blog, http://doughertyatmorris.blogspot.com/.

Mr. Dougherty arrives at the site of each new installation with no preconceptions as to what he will create. Instead, using locally gathered natural materials, he draws inspiration from the surrounding environment to design a large-scale structure that when completed, may remind visitors of a nest, cocoon or even a fairy tale dwelling. Each of his sculptures is designed and executed without the use of nails or other supportive hardware, and the result is a creation that may resemble something artful that was shaped by a powerful wind that swept across the landscape.

At the conclusion of his Morris Arboretum residency, Mr. Dougherty will name his creation and leave the Arboretum with a distinctive architectural element that will remain in place as long as it lasts in the natural environment.


Above is the sculpture as of Sunday, April 5, a week after the installation began on March 30. Notice how the roof is being formed as well as the windows. It will be a work in progress until Saturday, April 18.


Almanac - April 14, 2009, Volume 55, No. 29