Patrick Dougherty

What Goes Around Comes Around
Photo by Susan Bailey

Meet the Artist

Patrick Dougherty was born in Oklahoma but grew up in Southern Pines, where he roamed the woods as a child. In the early 1980’s his love of nature, his evolving knowledge of primitive building techniques, and his carpentry skills combined to create a unique artistic form—he began to build sculptures using tree saplings as his material.

In 1982, his first work, Maple Body Wrap, was included in the NC Biennial Artists’ Exhibition, sponsored by the NC Museum of Art. The next year, he held his first one-person show, Waitin’ It Out in Maple, at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem. These early single pieces were conventional, pedestal-mounted works, but his vision quickly evolved into monumental-scale environmental works. These required saplings by the truckload.

January 2020: Grand Central, McKee Botanical Garden, Vero Beach, FL
August 2020: Tilt a Whirl, Holden Arboretum, Cleveland, OH

Over the last thirty years, he has completed over 300 temporary, sight-specific works. He has achieved international acclaim, and his art can be seen across the United States and worldwide—from Japan to Brussels. Locally, his work is featured at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens in Fayetteville, the NC Museum of Life and Science in Durham, and the Sara P. Duke Gardens at Duke University.

Mr. Dougherty resides in Chapel Hill. He holds a BA in English from UNC Chapel Hill and an MA in Hospital and Health Administration from the University of Iowa. He also engaged in post-graduate work at the UNC Chapel Hill Art Department. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in New York.

He is the author of Stickwork, an artist’s monograph published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2009, and his work and career are featured in books published in France, Italy, and Germany. Over sixty periodical articles featuring his sculptures have appeared in American publications ranging from local newspapers to national-circulation magazines. The Sandhills Horticultural Society is delighted that he has agreed to add, on its grounds, an example of his impressive and unique environmental art. 

His work can be enjoyed on the website: