Patrick Dougherty: Footloose

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    Ruaille Buaille (Highjinx) (2008. Sculpture in the Parklands in County Offaly, Ireland. Photo credit: James Fraher

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    Artist Patrick Dougherty harvesting strawberry guava saplings at Ho‘omaluha Botanical Garden. Feb 7, 2012.

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    Museum staffers Bradley Capello and Aaron Padilla harvesting strawberry guava saplings for Patrick Dougherty's installation at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Feb 7, 2012.

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    Harvesting strawberry guava saplings at Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden, at the foot of the Ko‘olau.

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    The strawberry guava saplings are ready for leaf stripping. Feb 8, 2012.

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    Patrick Dougherty marked where to place foundation saplings for his installation.

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    Artist Patrick Dougherty, Leland Miyano, and the museum's Manny Tagalicud drill holes to hold the foundation saplings.

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    This is a man's world. Drill, baby, drill.

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    Sapling triage. Feb 9, 2012.

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    Installing the foundation saplings to form the framework for the sculptures. Feb 9, 2012.

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    O‘ahu artists Mark Chai and Leland Miyano lend a hand. Feb 9, 2012.

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    Patrick Dougherty runs a tidy operation—volunteers even vacuum dirt from the sculpture site. Feb 10, 2012.

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    Meanwhile, stripping of the saplings continues. Feb 10, 2012.

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    Patrick Dougherty working with the guava saplings. The sculptures take shape. Feb 13, 2012.

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    Hearts 'n' scaffolding. Valentine's Day. Feb 14, 2012.

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    Feb 15, 2012

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    Feb 15, 2012

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    Feb 16, 2012

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    Feb 16, 2012

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    Feb 17, 2012

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    Feb 17, 2012

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    Feb 20, 2012

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    Volunteer Annette Roster. Feb 20, 2012.

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February 06, 2012 - March 04, 2013
Honolulu Museum of Art

Exhibition Overview

Environmental artist Patrick Dougherty was at the Honolulu Museum of Art from Feb. 6 to 24, 2012, creating his seven-part sculpture Footloose. In just over two weeks, the North Carolina-based artist and a small army of volunteers harvested, then stripped, twisted and wove strawberry guava tree saplings to create a large, organic sculpture. The surrounding environment and its given materials play a significant role in shaping Dougherty's sculptures and in this case, his work draws from the architectural elements of the museum’s historical building and grounds.

In 2005, Dougherty used strawberry guava saplings to fashion a sculpture that rose sinuously under the giant monkeypod tree on Spalding House’s lawn. And last September, he spent three weeks at Maui's Hui No‘eau, where he created On the Wild Side out of invasive plant species to mark the launch of the art center's new public program Ho‘ololi: The Environmental Art Garden.

O‘ahu artist and landscape architect Leland Miyano, along with museum staff and volunteers, helped Dougherty harvest materials such as strawberry guava and ash from Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Gardens.

Dougherty combines his carpentry skills and his love and knowledge of nature to create whimsical, elegant woven masses that often relate to architectural structures or even evolve into cocoon-like organic vessels. He began working on simple structures in 1980s and since then has created more than 200 sculptures around the world.

His monograph-memoir Stickwork (Princeton Architectural Press, $50) is available in the museum shop. To learn more about Dougherty’s work, visit

This project has been funded through the generosity of Elizabeth and Richard Grossman, Judy Pyle and Wayne Pitluck, Vi Loo, and Sharon and Thurston Twigg-Smith, with hospitality provided by Aqua Hotels and Resorts and Ilikai Hotel & Suites.