Sculpture: Sittin' Pretty
Artist: Patrick Dougherty
Combining his carpentry skills with his love for nature, Patrick Dougherty
began to learn more about primitive techniques of building and to experiment
with tree saplings as construction material. In 1982 his first work, MapleBodyWrap was included in the North
Carolina Biennial Artists' Exhibition sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of
Art. In the following year, he had his first one person show entitled,
Waiting It Out In Maple at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art
in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His work quickly evolved from single pieces on
conventional pedestals to monumental scale environments which required saplings
by the truckloads. During the last two decades, he has built over 150 works
throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.
For more information or to contact Patrick, visit his website: www.stickwork.net.
Dougherty also constructed Spittin' Image in the South Carolina Botanical Garden in 2001.
Patrick Dougherty, 1996
"Built in Rome in 1502 and described as the essence of Renaissance architecture, Donato Bramante's Tempietto provided a compelling point of departure for me in designing a sculpture for the South Carolina Botanical Garden. Planned with the rationality of mathematics, the Tempietto's circular configuration was imagined by the sixteenth century viewer as almost a spinning form, the wall of which seemed "shapable and pliant" in the Italian sunlight.
Such a description prompted me to imagine a sculpture which might mix the tradition of great architecture with the simple construction methods of a backyard bird's nest. I envisioned Bramanate's dignified classical form rendered not in stone, but entirely from recycled prunings gathered near the Botanical Garden. I could see something stately and referential, and yet a sapling structure with a surface that suggested the momentum and speeding lines of some impromptu natural phenomena.
When I discovered that the height to width ration of the Tempietto's central barrel is identical to the proportions of many of the mature shrubs in the Botanical Garden, I wondered if Bramante had really discovered the secret of his building's pleasing proportion by walking in his own Roman garden. Given the grand inspiration for the sculpture and its Southern hometown setting, this little Tempietto, rendered in local tree limbs and branches, really seemed to be Sittin' Pretty."
Sittin' Pretty, 2007