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Announcement
November 18, 2021

Diane Borsato
Cloud Collection

Owens Art Gallery at Mount Allison University

View of Diane Borsato: Cloud Collection, Observations of Clouds and Other Ephemeral Phenomena in the Permanent Collection of the Owens Art Gallery, Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University, 2021. Graphic design: JP King.

View of Diane Borsato: Cloud Collection, Observations of Clouds and Other Ephemeral Phenomena in the Permanent Collection of the Owens Art Gallery, Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University, 2021. Graphic design: by JP King.

Observations of Clouds and Other Ephemeral Phenomena in the Permanent Collection of the Owens Art Gallery

Curators: Lucy MacDonald and Emily Falvey

The Owens is thrilled to announce the launch of Cloud Collection, a new work by artist Diane Borsato. Taking the form of a printed field guide, Cloud Collection takes readers on a cloud-watching expedition through the Owens Art Gallery’s permanent collection. The publication presents twenty-one works and accompanying texts that describe lightning, sun dogs, and various atmospheric effects. The full-colour, accordion-fold publication, available in both English and French, was designed by JP King and extends to become a 56” skyline. At once playful and critical, Cloud Collection highlights the wonder of museum collections and the infinite ways that they can be combined, recombined, and mined for new meanings. Borsato’s approach sets aside conventional collection narratives, offering new points of entry and new ways to see the Owens’ permanent collection. It changes not only how we might look at art, but also the sky. Encouraging us to look up and attend to the world around us, it also asks us to consider the “climate” of our times.

Conceived at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we were spending greater time indoors, and when people’s movements were limited due to public health restrictions, this project offers a window to the sky. Clouds can be observed from indoors, from balconies, backyards or on neighbourhood walks. Cloud watching does not require any travel or access beyond the space of one’s own home. While we slowly start venturing further afield and meeting with friends and family again, Cloud Collection prompts us to renew our sense of connection to the natural world and to share in the quiet pursuit of observing the weather. Cloud Collection is accompanied by a bilingual virtual companion that extends both access and accessibility, offering screen-readable text, audio by the artist, large images, and visual descriptions of artworks. Free copies of Cloud Collection can be requested online.

In response to Cloud Collection, the Owens has launched the Instagram account, MySkyRightNow as a way to share immediate, unfiltered images of the sky as we see it right now—framed by office windows, glimpsed from the kitchen table, or stretching above us on an afternoon walk. Documenting the circumstances of time and place, this accumulation of images offers insight to the many ways we see the sky. Cloud Collection will also be supported by a forthcoming Teacher’s Resource.

Cloud Collection was developed based on research for the work Cloud Party (2017), also by Diane Borsato, which was performed at the Art Gallery of Ontario with the support of the Creative Time Summit. All works were selected by the artist from the permanent collection of the Owens Art Gallery in 2021.

We would like to acknowledge, honour, and pay respect to the traditional owners and custodians—from all four directions—of the land on which we live. It is upon the unceded, ancestral lands of the L’nuk (Mi'kmaq) that the Owens Art Gallery is located. While this area is known as Sackville, New Brunswick, it is part of Siknikt, a district of the greater territory of Mi'kma'ki. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship,” which the L'nuk, Wolastoqiyik, and Peskotomuhkati first signed with the British Crown in 1725.

This project was made possible thanks to funding from the Strategic Initiatives Fund of the New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Admission is free. Masks are mandatory; visitors 12 and older must provide proof of vaccination.

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