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Diane Borsato

September 3 – November 8, 2013

Diane Borsato is a Toronto-based artist working in social practice, performance, intervention, video, installation and photography. Recently she has worked closely with groups of performers, volunteers and amateur naturalists in projects that explore social, mobile and multi-sensory ways of knowing. As artist-in-residence, she researched the AGO collection and worked in response to objects, resources and relationships developed in the museum.

For Scotiabank Nuit Blanche on October 5, 2013, Borsato gathered 100 regional beekeepers in a massive collective meditation in Walker Court entitled Your Temper, My Weather. The beekeepers silently meditated on notions of “good weather” for the bees and for all of us, attempting to transform environmental conditions with their minds. Please click here for more info.

During her residency, Diane Borsato completed a number of interventions that arose from her research and exploration of the AGO’s permanent collection and the gallery spaces. Borsato exhibited two pieces during her residency (on view from October 2013 – January 2014).

For Beekeeper, Diane Borsato commissioned Toronto-based artist Winnie Truong to depict one of her greatest fears as an amateur beekeeper: getting stung in the eyes by bees. Beekeeper is on view in the Elizabeth & Tony Comper Gallery.

Field Pack is part of an ongoing series of interventions that are appearing the Canadian permanent collections galleries. In this piece, Borsato presents us with contents from her personal field pack. The collection proposes a bushwhacker persona that is an alternative to Fred B. Housser’s defining of the Group of Seven. It complicates accepted tropes of Canadian identity and points to contemporary artistic practices that are research-intensive, site-responsive and social. Field Pack is on view in the J.S. McLean Centre for Canadian Art.

Diane’s interests in different ways of understanding and experiencing also informed her exploration of the AGO’s permanent collection. Borsato hosted a small tea service with select group of AGO conservators and staff in which tea served from early 19th-century tea cups from the Grange collection. By reanimating these objects that have now become precious artifacts back to their original intended purpose – to drink tea – Borsato raised questions about tactile and sensory experience as well as the way we define functional objects vs. artifacts/art works. Please click here to read Sherry Phillips’ and Diane Borsato’s blog post about the event on

Borsato has exhibited and performed across Canada and internationally including at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec, the AGYU, MOCCA, and The Power Plant. Diane Borsato is currently Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studio at the University of Guelph, and lives in Toronto.

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