LAWRENCE.- The last month of the exhibition Trees & Other Ramifications: Branches in Nature & Culture will feature the arrival on campus of world-renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty. Hosted by the Spencer Museum in cooperation with The Commons, Dougherty will be an artist-in-residence during May, when he will create a large-scale tree-sapling sculpture outside The Commons @ Spooner Hall.
Dougherty has gained an international reputation for his natural-wood structures and has created hundreds of monumental, site-specific sculptures around the world. His work is constructed from saplings gathered from local sources and shaped into massive, swirling forms as high as 40 feet. To learn more about Dougherty, please visit www.stickwork.net.
The project is yet another Spencer-driven collaborative opportunity for KU faculty and students; Professor of Sculpture Matthew Burke is serving as project coordinator, and the project will be documented by KU film student Sandra Ristovska. As well, Doughertys work will be virtually represented on the Spencers Second Life Island. Dougherty will give an artists talk on his work at 5:30 PM May 21 in the SMA Auditorium.
Dougherty's residency is made possible in part by the generous support of Reed and Stacey Dillon, the KU School of Architecture and Urban Planning, the Elizabeth Schultz Environmental Fund of the Douglas County Community Foundation, and corporate sponsor Capitol Federal Foundation.
Visitors to the Spencer Museum of Art this spring can experience the ways in which trees affect their lives. The exhibition Trees & Other Ramifications, on view through May 24 in the Museums Central Court, with connected projects at the Natural History Museum and The Commons @ Spooner Hall, offers an open-ended look at some of the many ways that trees are meaningful to humanity and important in the natural world. The exhibition, which features prints, drawings, books, and photographs drawn from University of Kansas and area collections, explores both works of art that were inspired by trees and images from the arts and sciences in which trees have served as a metaphor for real and imagined branching systems. For example, you will find works about family trees, the tree of knowledge, and Darwin's evolutionary tree of life.
In alliance with other spring exhibitions and programs concerning climate change, the Natural History Museum/Biodiversity Research Center has contributed research on the species of trees seen in some of the exhibited works that allows us to predict the future geographic distribution of those species under different climate change models. The Biodiversity Research Center will also be sharing new research documentation of the remarkable Bowerbirds of New Guinea. As part of their courtship behavior, bowerbirds make elaborate structures that incorporate tree elements and that are sometimes built around saplings.
Trees & Other Ramifications is organized by Stephen Goddard, Senior Curator of Prints, working in cooperation with KU's Biodiversity Research Center and the Spencer Research Library. The exhibition is made possible in part by the generous support of the Elizabeth Schultz Environmental Fund of the Douglas County Foundation, Arthur V. Neis, and Gould Evans Associates, LC.