Internationally Acclaimed Sculptors to Lecture at UM

September 07, 2017

Patrick Dougherty working on installation in progress.MISSOULA – The School of Art will present two distinguished lectures by internationally acclaimed artists from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the University of Montana.

Patrick Dougherty and Kevin O’Dwyer, who are both currently involved with the Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild park in Lincoln, will present back-to-back lectures from 6 to 8 p.m. in the University Center Theater. Their lectures are presented in conjunction with Dougherty’s three-week artist in residence at Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild.

During his residency, Dougherty and his band of volunteers will twist, weave and entangle more than 10 tons of willow saplings to create a monumental sculpture for Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild. During a career spanning more than three decades, Dougherty has created over 300 large-scale temporary sculptures worldwide. Since creating his first sapling structures in 1982, he has traveled throughout the world to create large-scale temporary installations for museums, sculpture parks, botanical gardens, private residences and art festivals. His environmental sculptures have been seen climbing the sides of buildings, finding shelter among a row of trees and winding up the banisters of museum foyers. Traveling to new sites, meeting the local community and creating a unique work of art inspired by the natural and manmade environment of the area are important aspects of his artistic practice.

“My impulsive style of building values the free-wheeling method of construction over plans and architectural models, and all the work must fit into a three-week building process,” Dougherty said. “With the 10 tons of willow saplings, the line between trash and treasure is very thin, and the saplings littering the ground during the building phase may appear to be cluttered piles of yard waste. Passersby often look the other way.

“Ultimately, however, these sticks are also lines with which to draw, and my assistants and I, using the body like a pencil, add lines again and again to the surface of the sculpture. And, as unlikely as it seems, many of the drawing conventions that we all used in school to draw interesting pictures are the same techniques I employ to build the drawn surfaces of my oversized sculptures. As the form materializes day after day, those who see it become more convinced, until opening day, when the work is complete in its intentions.”

More information about Dougherty and his work is available at http://www.stickwork.net/.

Irish artist O’Dwyer, also an internationally acclaimed sculptor and metalsmith, serves as the artistic director/curator of Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild. His artwork reflects his strong interest in ancient landscapes, industrial archaeology and architecture. His symposia installations respond to the industrial and environmental heritage of the landscape, and industrial artifacts, historical references, folklore and archival interviews are the building blocks in the development of his installations. O’Dwyer is represented at the Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild park by the 22-foot-high steel sculpture “Montana Line Drawing.” He is also responsible for proposing the move of the iconic Delaney Sawmill TeePee Burner to the park as a means of preserving one of the remaining Lincoln-area landmarks that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the once-thriving timber industry. LED lighting is installed at the top of the TeePee Burner to assimilate the orange glow of burning wood. The interior space – 45 feet in diameter – provides a space for temporary exhibitions, education and performance opportunities.

O’Dwyer has been the artistic director/curator of the sculpture park since 2013. He previously served as artistic director/curator of Sculpture in the Parklands in Ireland, and worked on numerous other consultant/manager arts and cultural heritage projects. He will speak about his work as well as Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild park.

For more information on Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild and upcoming events, visit http://www.sculptureinthewild.com/program-events.html, call O’Dwyer at 520-471-9770 or email kodwyerdesign@gmail.com. For more information on the UM lectures, call the School of Art at 406-243-2813 or email Cathryn Mallory at cathryn.mallory@umontana.edu.

Contact: Cathryn Mallory, professor, UM School of Art, 406-243-2813, cathryn.mallory@umontana.edu.