Bunyon-esque Kites

Life is serendipitous, and it is usually a joy to where it takes us. In November, I had the opportunity to meet Yoko Ott (through a semi sweet 16 birthday party), Director of Open Satellite exhibition space in Bellevue, Washington. Her quick conversation with me brought forth a connection, Heather & Ivan Morison, world-renowned guest artists for the months of April and May. As good directors do, we jumped right in and headed to the finish line, detailing a collaborative project with the Drachen Foundation and Open Satellite. With the assistance of kite artist and DF founder Scott Skinner, the magic will begin in April.

Exhibition Dates: April 28-June 19, 2010

Opening Event: Tuesday, April 27, 6-9 PM at Open Satellite
Location: 989 112th Ave NE, Ste 102, Bellevue, WA 98004
Contact: Voice: 425 454 7355 / Email: info@opensatellite.org
Web: www.opensatellite.org Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12-6 PM

About the Exhibition:

Open Satellite announces a residency and exhibition by British artists Heather and Ivan Morison, curated by Eric Fredericksen. During their residency the Morisons will be researching at the Seattle-based Drachen Foundation which holds an internationally important archive of kites and is devoted to the increase and diffusion of knowledge about kites worldwide. Joining them will be kite artist Scott Skinner. The Morisons will be working with them to develop a future series of new small and large scale kite sculptures.

For their exhibition at Open Satellite, the Morisons will build a large timber prototype of an element of the new kite sculptures. The piece will be constructed from local trees that have had to be been felled to make way for a new commercial building to be built by the same development company that supports Open Satellite. Made of heavy timber beams, milled on site, burnt to charcoal, the sculptural prototype will reach out and touch all six surfaces of the space. Their project at Open Satellite will encompass the sculpture as well as the process of its creation and display.

Heather and Ivan Morison make art as an active engagement with materials, histories, sites, and processes. Through peripatetic travels that have taken them to Siberia, Tasmania, Ulaan Baatar, Beijing, Wales, and now Bellevue, Washington, the Morisons have produced sculpture, photographs, buildings, and fiction. A series of square postcards mailed from these locations serve as a sort of journal of their travels, with laconic texts. From Russia: "Mr & Mrs Ivan Morison do not understand it. Why are they cutting down all the Siberian Larches?" From Los Angeles: "It got to the point where I just had to get out. That's when I built my first escape vehicle."

For the last four years their base has been Arthog, a village in Wales. The Morisons have acquired a forest there, which they are transforming into an arboretum by introducing non-native trees collected on their travels. The arboretum is home as well to structures that suggest, variously, garden follies as imagined by hippie science fiction fans, or primitive earthen shelters. This project is at the core of their far flung projects, including their Open Satellite residency.

About the Curator:

Eric Fredericksen is the director of Western Bridge, a contemporary art collection exhibition space in Seattle, where he has curated a dozen exhibitions. His independent curatorial work includes exhibitions at the Or Gallery and the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, the Noorderzon Festival in Groningen, the Netherlands, and juried exhibitions at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, University of Washington, and Soil and Punch artists' cooperatives in Seattle. He is a former writer and editor at The Stranger and Architecture magazine, and a 2000-2001 fellow of the National Arts Journalism Program, Columbia University.

About Open Satellite:

Open Satellite is a contemporary art exhibition hall for the Seattle metropolitan area. The residency-based program provides an opportunity for emerging and mid-career artists from outside the region to work for an extended period to create large-scale artwork in any medium. Exhibitions are staged four times annually with every fifth show focused on architecture as a critical position. Open Satellite was formed in 2007 and is sustained by Su Development.

Media Contact: Yoko Ott, (425) 454-7355, yoko@opensatellite.org. More information about Heather and Ivan Morison can be found at www.morison.info.