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Life’s What You Make It


15 January 2016 - 28 February 2016


15 January 2016
28 February 2016
A portrait of Mao Tse-tung shaking hands with a younger Asian man in a grey suit. The man clasps Mao’s right hand in both of his own and smiles. Above their heads two large light fixtures shine downward, casting dark shadows on the deep red backdrop behind them.

Life’s What You Make It

About this exhibition

The paintings in this exhibition are from the Owens Art Gallery Collection. Some were acquired when the Owens was founded over a hundred years ago; others were purchased or received as donations as recently as this year. The selection reflects the breadth and depth of the Owens holdings which range from key 19th Century works by the British Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, to contemporary paintings by Canadian artists Alex Colville, Janet Werner and Joane Tod, among others.

This exhibition draws attention to the issue of representation in visual art, and asks viewers to consider the way artists respond to life through the act of making things.

The title for the exhibition was inspired by the song Life’s What You Make It released by the British band Talk Talk in 1985 from their album The Colour of Spring. Life’s What You Make It was a modest pop chart success, peaking at no. 16 in the UK.

Image: Joanne Tod, Red Chinese, 1979, acrylic on canvas, 110 x 130. Collection of the Owens Art Gallery Mount Allison University. Gift of George Sanders.