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Patrick Dougherty

Dougherty, Patrick (American sculptor and ceramicist, born 1945)

Patrick Dougherty is a North Carolina-based environmental artist known for his temporary stickwork sculptures. Dougherty graduated in 1969 from the University of Iowa with an M.A. in Hospital and Health Administration, and shortly thereafter he joined the Air Force. He also bought a 10-acre plot of land in North Carolina and began planning to build a house. The process quickly showed Dougherty that his real passion was art. At the age of 36, he went back to school and earned a masters degree in art history and sculpture at the University of North Carolina. In 1982, he completed his first work, Maple Body Wrap.

Since then, Dougherty has created over 200 whimsical, coiling, tangled sculptures crafted primarily from woven saplings. Due to the materials he uses, Dougherty’s works are generally meant to be temporary. The site-specific sculptures are often built outdoors, integrated into trees or creeping up the sides of buildings, and exposure to the elements wears the installations down over time. Over the years, he has been invited to build sculptures at institutions on four continents. His work has appeared at the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (1993); Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. (2010); the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, NY (2010); and the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, KY (2012). A 2013 documentary, Bending Sticks, explores Dougherty’s work in more depth.



“2014 Artist-in-Residence: Patrick Dougherty.” Cheekwood Art & Gardens. Last modified March, 2014.

Green, Penelope. “At Home with Patrick Dougherty: Building with Sticks and Stones.” The New York Times. October 6, 2010.

“Natural History at Brooklyn Boatanic Garden: August 2010-December 2012.” Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Accessed August 1, 2010.