Dougherty at Sculpture in the Parklands

Apologies if the blog has been slow the last few weeks– between travelling and sorting out conference stuff the blog’s fallen a bit quiet!

On Saturday though I made the trek out to Sculpture in the Parklands in Offaly (founded & managed by MA programme alumnus Kevin O’Doherty) to see Patrick Dougherty’s work in progress… an amazing willow sculpture, woven in and around a grove behind the park’s new visitor pavilion. It was an astounding piece of work– so intricate and amazingly complex. It looks magnificent in photographs but is even better in person– the modulations of light and shade, sequence of corridor-like spaces and enclosures, and the scent of fresh-cut branches can only really be experienced on site. It’s one of the most successful site-specific works I’ve seen in Ireland in some time. It’s a wonderful complement to the other works in the Parklands, though quite different in sensibility.

The 10-ton structure is being built with the assistance of a local crew over a 3-week period, and formally launching next Saturday. Patrick was extremely generous with his time in talking with visitors (and me!) about the work and his hopes for it– as his biggest work yet, it’s expected to last on site for the next few years, and it will be wonderful to see it mature and evolve over that time span.

Kudos to Kevin and everyone at Sculpture in the Parklands for all their hard work on the commission! It would be fantastic to see Bord na Mona really get behind the Parklands project, there’s so much scope to continue commissioning outstanding public artworks in such an evocative setting.

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