Artist Patrick Dougherty Interview for WONDER” at the Renwick Gallery

  • Working with saplings Patrick Dougherty to create works of whimsy. In this interview explores the process and nature of Shindig at the Renwick Gallery.

    PATRICK DOUGHTERY: My name is Patrick Dougherty. I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I’m here at the Renwick. This is my work behind me. I always use saplings in my work, and the title of this work is called “Shindig.”

    Well, I always use saplings in my work, and they need to be flexible, and in this case, it was a little bit difficult because we had so much processing to do before we could bring them into the Renwick. We removed the leaves. We had to put them in a freezer for 2 weeks to kill the bugs. We had to fire retard it, put it on a truck, and bring it from Fredonia, New York, where there’s a willow farm.

    I think it’s going to be beautiful the way people proceed through it. We built a little bit of intrigue because the doors for entering into these shapes are often behind the piece, so you might look to the window or see someone in there and wonder how they got in. I find that a good sculpture causes lots of personal associations with the viewer, at least they’re starting points for the viewer, and sticks are very reminiscent. We use them as children to play with and then they’re weapons and tools and pieces of a wall, so most everyone has a kind of sensation about sticks. It’s great to use something that people have a kind of a good feeling towards.