Owen Morrel


Test below image.
Owen Morrel
About the author

I have lived next to the sea my entire life. The unfettered and expansive playground of open water provided for me as a young man taught me about psychological freedom. From a very young age I was attracted to the formal layout and design of commercial fishing boats, and I became interested in various modes of transportation. I have used them as a springboard to guide my work and help me navigate back to the open waters and the psychological freedom I found in the presence of the infinite negative space of the sea. I was initially inspired to make sculpture when I moved to New York City in 1974. I wanted to find that freedom I experienced near the openness of the sea once again. The city was a wide-open frontier in the 1970s. I explored the verticality of the urban environment, accessing the rooftops to accomplish my goals. This was an untapped resource at the time. I explored the potential of this resource for the next 15 years. Shortly thereafter I started building telescopes and embedded them into urban furniture to create anomalies that challenged viewers’ concepts of the built environment. I wanted to afford viewers the opportunity to see more intensely and see further to allow the mind to move toward the oceanic. I recently installed Astrolabe in Lubbock Texas for Texas Tech University where I built a piece in front of a new Experimental Science Bldg. I am currently working in Arlington Texas on a large-scale piece on the approach road to the Dallas Cowboy and Texas Rangers Stadiums as well as the new Arlington Convention Center. Simplicity, sustainability, natural light, the inclusion of the viewer in the creative act and adherence to the essence of the term site specific have been the operative concepts guiding my work for 35 years. My work is bold, direct, emanates from a succinct and accessible narrative that speaks to a wide audience. The essence of the term ‘site specific’ is contextual consideration and inclusive coexistence between a sculpture, the physical landscape it inhabits, and those who travel through the site. Clarity of vision is the glue that holds the sculptural narrative together. Sculpture can precipitate civic pride by including materials, the viewer, the natural landscape, and the daily functional activity of the site in the experience of the work. To accomplish this end, the sculpture must be sufficiently open-ended and encourage viewers to be participants. This means that there is an openness of design; the work allows everyone to visit the site and depart with their own interpretation of the experience. Viewers develop a personal connection to the experience of passing through the site, making the interaction with the sculpture memorable. This approach also creates site identity and uniqueness, transforming a terminal into a destination. I have often used reflective surfaces such as mirrors to bring the ambient landscape directly within the confines of the artwork and include the elements of the site directly into the sculpture. Mirrors can be used to create a pastiche or collage of disparate imagery into one ‘holistic vision’- integrating the various elements while including the viewer within the sculpture. Scale can afford the participant physical interaction with the sculpture as well as allowing the sculpture a significant ‘iconic’ presence on the landscape.