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 ( 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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