Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Diamonds in the Rough

Patrick Dougherty's work "Diamonds in the Rough" at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens is called a sculpture, but it's really a fine piece of architecture. As soon as my children saw it, they ran to it and entered its maze, which seems to go on and on even though the piece occupies a relatively small site.
Timeless and slightly witchy, the twisted sweetgum and maple structure invites one to wander quietly through its chambers, randomly encountering others who are similarly drawn. There is a faint, dry, woody smell which recalled for me the notion of ancient libraries, repositories of arcane knowledge. Everyone I saw there felt compelled to touch the stems, taut and growing more rigid as they dry in the sun.
The piece is not permanent, the artist will take it down before it crumbles. Some of the volunteers seem to have an interesting idea - a bonfire (with the fire department close at hand, of course.) So see it soon. And often - it should be interesting to see how it changes over its life of a year or so. The patches of maroon-brown leaves in the walls, like crumbling parchment may gone soon, that's my guess.
There are more details, photos, and a timelapse video of the construction at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden's website.

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