For more than a decade, the Outdoor School project has provided a framework for interdisciplinary artists to come together and share projects that reimagine ways of relating with the landscape.
The experiential and community-based art projects described in Outdoor School present an alternative to scientific, commercial and colonial conceptions of land and nature in the face of climate change and mass extinction. These art practices include activities like mushroom foraging, water witching, trespassing, pumpkin-boat sailing, cloud identifying, ravine running, honey extracting, spell conjuring, rabbit hunting, coyote walking and more. The project calls attention to creative, counter-cultural works that are focused on education, community and place, and blur the boundaries between art and life, nature and culture.
Featuring interviews, essays and over 150 photographs, Outdoor School is an important contribution to discussions of contemporary art and ecology, foregrounding work that is marginal and ephemeral by nature.
Artists featured in Outdoor School include Alana Bartol, Diane Borsato, Bill Burns, Carolina Caycedo, Sameer Farooq, FASTWÜRMS, Ayumi Goto, Maggie Groat, Gabrielle Hill, Peter Morin, Public Studio, Helen Reed, Genevieve Robertson, Jamie Ross, Aislinn Thomas, Vibrant Matter, Jay White, Tania Willard, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson and D'Arcy Wilson.
About the authors
Diane Borsato is an artist and educator. She is associate professor of studio art and head of the experimental studio area at the University of Guelph. She has exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, the Art Gallery at York University, Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the Walter Philips Gallery at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the National Art Centre as well as in galleries and museums around the world. She lives in Toronto, ON.
Amish Morrell is an educator, curator, editor and writer. He is currently assistant professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences & School of Interdisciplinary Studies at OCAD University in Toronto. From 2008 to 2017 he was Editor and Director of Programs at C Magazine, one of North America’s foremost visual arts magazines. He has also curated numerous exhibitions and developed public projects including Nightwalks with Teenagers, with Mammalian Diving Reflex; The Sauna Symposium with Hart House at the University of Toronto; and Reading the Bruce Trail with Public Studio. He lives in Toronto.
"Mushroom foraging, water witching and honey extracting are but a few of the outdoor activities that, according to Toronto artists Diane Borsato and Amish Morrell, can help us shift our views of nature away from scientific, commercial and colonial perceptions of land... Outdoor School is a primer for a new generation of ecologically inspired art, showcasing a variety of recent experiential and community-based projects." — AGOinsider