Shelter: Patrick Dougherty & Rachel Hayes, Review

Shelter: Patrick Dougherty & Rachel Hayes is an exhibit that brings together two different artists to 108 Contemporary in Tulsa. It would be difficult to walk in the gallery and not notice the large, colorful pieces hanging from the ceiling; that would be the work of Rachel Hayes. She focuses on the processes that are usually seen in abstract painting, modern design, and many other types of works. Hayes’ pieces were made specifically for the 108, aware of the natural light that would come through the large windows within the gallery. Her artist statement in the beginning of the gallery states, “My interests in supple materials and craft-based processes such as sewing, paired with the large-scale nature of my installations, results in work that aims to have a balance of power and fragility.” The bright colors mixed with the slightly darker hues create a depth within the piece that captures the eye and imaginations of visitors. Each piece has a different design, in which Hayes states that there is an invitation to bring associations of stained glass chapels, minimalist painting, patchwork quilts, tents, forts and heroic landscape art through a feminist lens that one can fold, pack up and take on a journey.

The other artist whose work is displayed in pictures within the gallery is that of Patrick Dougherty. His work portrays different structures made by tree branches and saplings, objects that he commonly associates with shelters that are built by animals in the forest. It is interesting to note that Dougherty uses materials from the surrounding area where the structure will actually be built. Each piece that he creates is specific to that area and will continue to stay there, as they are natural materials. In many places around the world, these types of pieces can portray anything from baroque towers to bottles of wine. Of course, one can imagine what his piece means once they are able to look at the picture, but upon reading the description, Dougherty takes it a step further in relating his work to a life event. For example, his work Sortie de Cave was created to show that once a wine has been aged to perfection, it is then taken out of the cellar. The artist states on the label that, “Having reached maturity, the lively bottles I created have left the cave and become tipsy enjoying their newfound freedom. The same expression, ‘sortie de cave,’ may also be applied to young adults leaving home.” The types of objects that the artist is able to create are astounding. While his works seem to portray one thing, it can often be taken in a completely different light. Dougherty makes the visitor think, allowing them to further analyze his work and then appreciate it even more.

These two artists with works that seem so different from one another come together to portray a common theme, shelter. Both Hayes and Dougherty use certain materials that shelters are commonly made out of, Hayes uses tents and Dougherty uses tree branches and sapling. Their work is also site specific, you will not see anything like it anywhere else. It combines the delicate and colorful works by Hayes together with the pictures of Dougherty’s rustic structures, making the visitor wonder how people create the space we inhabit, as the gallery states on their website.

If you are interested in Patrick Dougherty’s work, he will be in Tulsa next month to create one of his amazing pieces.

Rachel Hayes’ piece
Rachel Hayes’ piece
Cell Division, 1998 by Patrick Dougherty, Photo by Wayne Moore
A Waltz in the Woods, 2015 by Patrick Dougherty, Photo by Rob Cardillo