Heather and Ivan Morison, Frost King
Curated by Eric Fredericksen

During their residency Heather and Ivan Morison have been 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. The archives hold particularly important information about the early development of kites as the precursor to manned flight. This key tipping point in man’s mastery over his environment produced the most dazzling and ingenious designs from some remarkable historic figures. It was a time of great excitement and possibility. Working with experts from Drachen Foundation, Heather and Ivan Morison will develop a series of new small- and large-scale kites to be fabricated in China for future exhibitions. These new works are a balance between falling and flying; between the inevitable decay and dereliction the artists see in the cities and prosperity of North America, the physical idea of lifting away from the hard earth, and a notion of transcendence. They are examinations of the abandoned city, of an optimistic architecture in ruins now made light and fragile, lifting high above the ground and moving with the wind – a floating city.

For their exhibition at Open Satellite, the Morisons will build a large timber prototype of just one of their forthcoming kite sculptures, Frost King, a charred wreck of a modernist façade imbued with the possibility of flight. This new work will be constructed from local trees that had to be 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 and clap boards, milled on the construction site, and burnt to charcoal, the sculptural prototype will fill the full length and height of the gallery. Their project at Open Satellite will encompass the sculpture as well as the process of its creation and display.

About the artists:
Heather and Ivan Morison make art as an active engagement with materials, histories, sites, and processes. Through peripatetic travels the Morisons have produced sculpture, photographs, buildings, and fiction. For the last four years the artists have based themselves in a remote Welsh village of Arthog to develop a long term project of an arboretum. The Morisons represented Wales at the 52nd Venice Biennale. Their new book Falling Into Place, a fictionalized account of their larger shelter works of the past few years, was published by Bookwooks in late 2009.

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.


Exhibition Dates
April 28 – June 19, 2010

View images

Opening Event
Tuesday, April 27, 6-9 PM

Artist Lecture
Friday, April 30, 7 PM
Henry Art Gallery Auditorium, members free / $5

Take Flight
Kite Making Workshop
Saturday, June 5, 11-2 PM

Heather and Ivan Morison website [ offsite ]
Drachen Foundation website [ offsite ]

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