Guest Artist Patrick Dougherty spent three weeks this summer on the Utah State University campus creating a sculpture from 30,000 pounds of willow branches.
With the help of his son Sam and several USU volunteers, the North Carolina native’s unusual sculpture sits just east of the Merrill-Cazier Library.
“It usually takes three weeks to build a piece,” Dougherty explained. “So, my son and I — my son graduated from college and then became my assistant — we work for three weeks at a time and we try to set a project that we can do within that period of time, given who’s going to help us and the quality of the material.”
As he worked at USU, Dougherty said he appreciated hearing how the sculpture affected viewers watching it being built.
“We have an open building site and people could walk up and talk to us while we worked. So there is a constant interchange and kind of a cultural exchange between the viewers and myself,” he continued. “It helps to find starting points. I feel like a good sculpture is one that causes lots of personal associations that a person who walks up already brings something and the sculpture opens that vista up.”
The structure, which he named “A Restless Spell”, is similar to others he has created all across the country. It will be on the USU campus for approximately two years.
“I try to choose a title that doesn’t trap the viewer into a specific thing. In my mind it references the surface and that wind that comes out of the canyon on the USU campus; all forces invisible that kind of blow against something.”
See Patrick Dougherty explain the structure on the USU campus.
USU has also produced a time-lapse video of the sculpture’s creation.