Saying Goodbye to “Windswept” and “Where the River Widens”

 In MOA Features
Danae Mattes Where the River Widens

Photo by BYU Photo

The breathtaking and monumental stick sculpture that has graced the largest gallery of the MOA is nearly at the end of its life span. Patrick Dougherty’s Windswept, which has been on display at the MOA since December 2018, is in its final weeks as it closes after October 19, 2019.

Thousands of visitors have explored, crawled through, photographed, gotten engaged in!, and enjoyed Windswept during its installation at the MOA. That’s exactly what contemporary artist Patrick Dougherty hoped for. Dougherty said in an interview with the Deseret News, “I think my job is to excite people’s imagination.”

Windswept was built over the span of three weeks from a flatbed full of willow saplings. Dougherty and his two-man crew worked with over 50 BYU student volunteers to create this masterpiece. The inspiration for the piece came to Dougherty as he toured the site months before installation and was stuck by the mountains just outside the museum. He created the piece to look like the face of a windswept mountain, but visitors to the gallery have seen other Utah homages in the piece, including beautiful arches.

Danae Mattes BYU Museum of Art

Photo by BYU Photo

A companion installation sharing the gallery space is Danae Mattes’ Where the River Widens, a beautiful, now-evaporated mud pool accompanied with textural canvases and installations on the walls. Mattes takes her inspiration for her artwork from the life force of water, noting how every aspect of life on earth depends on it, and water is felt even in its absence—a notion familiar to native Utahns.

Again, BYU student volunteers assisted Mattes as she created the evaporation pool on-site. The pool, filled with a clay and water “slip,” evaporated completely over the course of about five months, leaving the deep, dried crevices and canyon visible today.

Both of these exhibitions quickly became favorites with MOA visitors, meriting repeat visits, many Instagram selfies, and lots of joy to patrons of all ages. The last day to visit Windswept and Where the River Widens is Saturday, October 19, 2019.

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