I am a massive fan of Patrick Dougherty, regularly visiting his “The Rambles” at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT. His first monograph, Stickwork, is out this month from Princeton Architectural Press.
Using minimal tools and a simple technique of bending, interweaving, and fastening together sticks, artist Patrick Dougherty creates works of art inseparable with nature and the landscape. With a dazzling variety of forms seamlessly intertwined with their context, his sculptures evoke fantastical images of nests, cocoons, cones, castles, and beehives. Over the last twenty-five years, Dougherty has built more than two hundred works throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia that range from stand-alone structures to a kind of modern primitive architecture—every piece mesmerizing in its ability to fly through trees, overtake buildings, and virtually defy gravity. Stickwork, Dougherty’s first monograph, features thirty-eight of his organic, dynamic works that twist the line between architecture, landscape, and art. 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. Sometimes freestanding, and other times wrapping around trees, buildings, railings, and rooms, they are constructed indoors and in nature. As organic matter, the stick sculptures eventually disintegrate and fade back into the landscape. Featuring a wealth of photographs and drawings documenting the construction process of each remarkable structure, Stickwork preserves the legend of the man who weaves the simplest of materials into a singular artistic triumph.