The Fussy Eye: Burnt Offering

Where are the kites? We were promised kites!

The work of husband-and-wife Brits Heather and Ivan Morison is said by Open Satellite curator Yoko Ott to be about kites and trees. Neither can be found when you enter the gallery. Instead, a giant black lattice cuts diagonally across the tall, bright space. Its name, Frost King, gives no indication of its origin or purpose. The installation looks like the site of a barn fire—with charred beams and the strong smell of recent combustion, like evidence removed from a crime scene. But as the gallery placard tells us, the timbers are new, hewn from trees recently removed from a nearby construction site being developed by Open Satellite's landlord. Just so we understand things: That's salvage lumber that could be used in a different, environmentally responsible manner, but instead the artists set it on fire. OK, then. The Morisons are in town to do research at the Drachen Foundation, a Seattle nonprofit "established in 1995 and devoted to the increase and dissemination of knowledge about kites worldwide," according to the group's website (drachen.org). Because you just knew that if there was going to be a kite study center anywhere in the world, it would be here. And with their newfound knowledge, leaving a few incinerated planks behind them, the Morisons will go back to Wales to make kite sculptures. With their own wood, we hope. (Through June 19.) 

 
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