Patrick Dougherty, Renwick Gallery, Shindig, Shindig by Patrick Dougherty, willow sapling art, twig art, stick art, environmental art, Smithsonian, Smithsonian American Art Museum, site specific art, site specific installation, Renwick Gallery Wonder exhibit,

Dougherty’s works are immediately recognizable. The acclaimed North Carolina-based sculptor has constructed over 250 twig sculptures worldwide in the past thirty years. Shindig was recently installed as part of Wonder, an exhibit that celebrates the opening of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery after an extensive two-year, $30 million renovation.

Patrick Dougherty, Renwick Gallery, Shindig, Shindig by Patrick Dougherty, willow sapling art, twig art, stick art, environmental art, Smithsonian, Smithsonian American Art Museum, site specific art, site specific installation, Renwick Gallery Wonder exhibit,

Related: Patrick Dougherty’s Mind-Blowing Nest Houses Made of Living Trees

The irregular and towering sculptures are dispersed across the 2,400-square-foot room, some soaring to a height of 16-and-a-half feet tall. The tilting huts are punctuated with doorways and windows that aren’t immediately visible, creating a sense of intrigue.

Patrick Dougherty, Renwick Gallery, Shindig, Shindig by Patrick Dougherty, willow sapling art, twig art, stick art, environmental art, Smithsonian, Smithsonian American Art Museum, site specific art, site specific installation, Renwick Gallery Wonder exhibit,

A description of his work in the gallery room explains: “Each structure is unique, an improvised response to its surroundings, as reliant on the materials at hand as the artist’s wishes: the branches tell him which way they want to bend. This give and take lends vitality to Dougherty’s work, so that walls and spires are a record of gestures and wills. Finding the right sticks remains a constant challenge, and part of the adventure of the art-making sends him scouring over the forgotten corners of land where plants grow wild and full of possibility.”

Patrick Dougherty, Renwick Gallery, Shindig, Shindig by Patrick Dougherty, willow sapling art, twig art, stick art, environmental art, Smithsonian, Smithsonian American Art Museum, site specific art, site specific installation, Renwick Gallery Wonder exhibit,

Related: These otherworldly paper mountains will change how you look at everyday objects

“Everyone has a sensation about sticks,” said Dougherty in a video at the Renwick Gallery, adding that most people will have some sort of positive childhood experience with the material. His stunning sculptures, however, have a deceptively natural appearance that belies the amount of processing and work required. In addition to leaf removal, Dougherty and his team of workers have to freeze the wood for two weeks to kill pests and then treat it with fire retardant. Dougherty prefers to work with saplings because of their flexibility. Shindig will remain on view until July 10, 2016 at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.

+ Patrick Dougherty

Images © Lucy Wang