“The Caring Gardener” aka Patrick Dougherty, is an American artist who dedicated the past 25 years of his life to building natural lodgings, robust nests, created by interweaving branches and twigs. Which, admittedly, aren’t adequate for living, but breathtaking all the same. His primary idea is co-existence of the environment and natural habitat. He’s realized over 200 installations to present, using any and all available organic materials, while the end result blurs the boundaries between installations, architecture and landscaping. Instead of typical geometric forms, a characteristic of contemporary architecture, Dougherty goes for structures that seem archetypal and remind one of primitive building techniques.
His site-specific sculptures are at times spatially independent, but often rely on surrounding trees, houses or scaffolding. In any case, the installations seem unexpected, slightly whimsical and are always environmentally aware. Every installation is left to the mercy of the weather which ultimately leads to its decay and composting.
Dougherty’s most recent installation, entitled ”Natural History“, is placed in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, as a collection of five tilted cottages intended as, in the author’s own words, “lairs for feral children and wayward adults”. The construction works lasted three weeks, and included children from the local schools who were taught how to weave willow branches. The artist concludes that, in addition to peace and entwinement with nature, his cottages offer a creative solution to all those dissatisfied with soaring real estate prices, thus he envisions his snares, nests and cocoons will one day become a viable housing option.
Click here for Patrick Dougherty’s other works