Famous Sculpture Artist Builds in Vero Beach

Artist Patrick Dougherty To Construct ‘stickwork’ Installation At Mckee Botanical Garden In January 2016

Beginning January 6, 2016, acclaimed landscape artist Patrick Dougherty will spend three weeks building one of his large-scale “Stickwork” creations at McKee Botanical Garden.

Working with a team of volunteers, Dougherty will use sweet gum and maple saplings woven together to construct a one-of-a-kind Roman temple sculpture that will intermix with the lush, tropical surroundings of McKee’s Royal Palm Grove. Garden visitors will be able to observe the artist at work throughout the duration of the project, and watch as the piece progresses and evolves into the final work.

Patrick Dougherty Learning Curve Jonatahn Mathis

Artist Patrick Dougherty with “Learning Curve” (2013), Center for Creativity & the Arts, University of California, Fresno, CA. Photo: Jonathan Mathis

Dougherty’s nature-based structures are intended to interact with their surroundings, adding elements of whimsy and visual energy to familiar settings. Each installation is different and temporary in its design, built from natural materials that eventually breakdown and become part of the landscape once again.

“Patrick Dougherty is known throughout the world for his intriguing, one-of-a-kind creations that transform sticks and twigs into functional, extraordinary works of art,” stated McKee Botanical Garden Executive Director Christine Hobart. “We are honored to feature one of his ‘Stickwork’ designs here at McKee, and for our visitors to be able to witness his unique construction process firsthand.”

Dougherty’s art combines his love of nature with his carpentry skills. After studying art history and sculpture at the University of North Carolina, he began to learn more about primitive building techniques and experimented with tree saplings as construction materials. He created his first work, “Maple Body Wrap,” in the early 1980s and quickly went from creating single pieces on conventional pedestals to environmental works of monumental scale that required truckloads of saplings. Since then, he has created more than 250 Stickwork sculptures throughout the United States, Europe and Asia – earning him international acclaim.

The artist performed a site visit to McKee recently, where he found inspiration in the Garden’s maze of waterways. According to Dougherty, “During my visit to McKee Botanical Garden, exploring the pond system which meanders throughout the Garden’s acreage was a unique and fanciful experience. This water feature fits seamlessly into the tropical landscape and allows the visitor to enjoy endless movement and a variety of colorful water plants.” He added, “I am looking forward to my time in the Garden, and the opportunity to build a sculpture in the Royal Palm Grove with all its outdoor grandeur.”

Patrick Dougherty has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Factor Prize for Southern Art, North Carolina Artist Fellowship Award, Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, Henry Moore Foundation Fellowship, Japan-US Creative Arts Fellowship, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. A book about the artist and his work entitled Stickwork was published in 2009. To find out more, please visit www.stickwork.net.

About McKee Botanical Garden

McKee Botanical Garden is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to nurture and enhance a historic garden in a unique tropical setting for the education, enjoyment and enrichment of all.  McKee Botanical Garden is located at 350 US Highway 1 in Vero Beach. Admission rates are $12 adults, $11 seniors and $8 children ages 3 to 12.  Admission is free for members and children under 3. Hours of operation are Tuesday throughSaturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.  The Garden is closed Mondays. For more information, please call 772-794-0601 or visit www.mckeegarden.org.

PHOTO CREDIT (PLEASE LIST AS NOTED): Artist Patrick Dougherty with “Learning Curve” (2013), Center for Creativity & the Arts, University of California, Fresno, CA. Photo: Jonathan Mathis