This is not the first time that I’ve had the chance to experience Patrick Dougherty’s Stickwork projects. But it is the first time that one of his works is on display in our home town.
For the next few years local Houstonians and visitors will have the opportunity to walk in and among one of Patrick’s flowing, windswept, twiggy bent-branch works of art. We had the chance to walk through last weekend and there’s on doubt that its a transportive event.
My first exposure to Patrick’s work was as an undergraduate student at Carleton College, Northfield MN, where in the winter of 2002 Patrick installed Twigonometry. The project was whimsical, imaginative, and refreshingly simple in conception. It was a also simply a great place to get lost for a second. It’s an impression that has stuck with me – though I’ll admit a certain amount of ambivalence about his work.
While Mr. Dougherty definitely has a way with branches, the over-all forms and flow (perhaps of this work in particular – I can’t get over the forced square-ness of the “window” and the “door”) feel somewhat static and stilted when compared to both his earlier pieces and to nature specifically. But, regardless of the individual artistic success of one piece over another, I appreciate the art vs. nature confoundedness that his work provides.
More about bent-wood structures as it relates to Animal Architecture can be found in our essay On Monstrosity here.
More about his work at Herman Park can be found at: http://365thingsinhouston.com/2014/01/25/patrick-dougherty-stick-work-houston-hermann-park-art/