Current Exhibitions

Home Grown: Walter Robinson
June 20 - August 30, 2015

Image: Walter Robinson, Fruits de Mer, 2013, wood, polychrome, and brass, 104 x 75 x 24 inches, courtesy of
Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco


Home Grown: Walter Robinson is a mid-career solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures created by the native Palo Alto artist during the past ten years, offering a glimpse at works from public and private collections from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Robinson is an expert craftsman, finishing his works in high-gloss colors that evoke the polish found in advertising. A provocateur, he plays with scale and appropriates familiar imagery and forms such as corporate logos, street signs, cartoon characters, gas pumps, and animal cookies, presenting a critique of contemporary culture and politics. Robinson's work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the San Jose Museum of Art and Montalvo Arts Center, and he has received critical attention from a number of publications including Artforum, ArtReview, Vanity Fair, and The San Francisco Chronicle. Robinson lives in Lamy, New Mexico and has exhibited with Catharine Clark Gallery since 1993.


Friday Night at the Art Center: Opening Celebration for
Home Grown: Walter Robinson
Friday, June 19, 7 - 10 p.m.

Celebrate the opening of Home Grown: Walter Robinson with the artist, see his paintings and sculptures created spanning a decade, and participate in a range of hands-on art-making activities in the Adult Studios. Enjoy delicious food truck fair and a specialty cocktail from the cash bar at another fun-filled Friday Night at the Art Center!







Double Take by Patrick Dougherty:
A site-specific installation

January 2011 -

Patrick Dougherty and detail of Ruaille Buaille (Hijinx)
2008, Parklands in County Offaly, Ireland.
Photo: James Fraher

The Palo Alto Art Center is honored to present a monumental, site-specific installation by Patrick Dougherty, one of the nation’s most prominent environmental sculptors. The public may view the artist’s creative process during his three week artist residency, January 11- 28, 2011, on the grounds of the Palo Alto Art Center.

Identified as the Jackson Pollock of saplings by art critic John Perreault, Patrick Dougherty is a process-oriented artist whose lyrical, organic works are created specifically for each site. Made from local and renewable willow saplings, his works embody natural life cycles, changing over time as the sticks settle and decay, eventually returning to the earth from which they grew. Dougherty has created over 200 monumental site-specific installations on the grounds of major museums, universities, botanical gardens, and private residences worldwide. The resulting works evoke a wide array of natural forms, ranging from nests to objects with a transparent architecture, like woodland dwellings, or basketry.

Environmental sensitivity is a major concern for the artist. Saplings are gathered from maintained sources so that the branches grow back to make new sticks for future uses. Dougherty does not use any artificial supports in his constructions because the inherent properties of saplings cause them to snag and entangle easily.

While there is a signature quality to his work, each of his compelling sculptures relates specifically to the physical site in a unique way. Dougherty believes that ideas percolate at the actual venue and that “the success of a piece lies in capturing the essence of a place and then playing with what you make of that essence.” Unlike other sculptors, he initially conceives of his work by making a series of word associations on both the physical and social qualities of a site. He is conscious of drawing in space, as he weaves sticks with lighter and darker colors and varying widths and lengths.

This project is commissioned by the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation and co-sponsored by the Palo Alto Public Art Commission. It is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Documentary film of the Patrick Dougherty installation at the Palo Alto Art Center (You Tube)

Patrick Dougherty Lecture at the Palo Alto Art Center (You Tube)

Public Reactions to Double Take by Patrick Dougerhty (You Tube)
Last Updated: Jun 21, 2015