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Hearts & Pills is a hybrid of art and poetry. A creative collaboration in which two poets interpret five of their own poems each in a visual, eye-catching medium. For over five years, Jordan Trethewey and Corenski Nowlan have worked closely together on their literary endeavours. They are founding members of the local writers group, The Vagabond Trust, operating a biweekly workshop for the purpose of critiquing and editing their own work and that of their peers. They have self published countless chapbooks and zine projects, and have read their work in public everywhere from St. John’s to Montreal. Both have worked in the world of theatre, as playwrights, on stage as actors, and behind the scenes as directors. As eclectic as they are, having a gallery show of their work is a first for both artists.
“We had a table at Gallery Connexion´s zine fair last year selling our chapbooks and zines,” says Trethewey. “We were approached by GC staff and told that they liked the internal artwork of the zines, how they blended image and words, and asked if we ever did anything larger scale.”
“I´ve dabbled in painting for years. I wanted to be a visual artist before a writer, but that got gummed up somehow,” says Nowlan. “It used to be a dream of mine to have my art in a gallery, but I gave up on that a few years back and started considering art more of a hobby, something to decorate the walls of my house with. Be careful when giving up on dreams. They can come back to bite you!”
“If there was a tagline for this show it would be, anyone could have done this… but they didn´t,” says Trethewey regarding the nature of work in the exhibit.
Most of the pieces were created with “found objects” such as old tires, worn baseball mitts, rusty medicine cabinets, and literally trash such as fast food wrappers. These are works of art that shatter conventions, and mix every medium imaginable; paint, wood, glue, collage, and metallurgy. Some of the pieces are even interactive. Viewers are encouraged to touch them, something that is normally taboo in the art world.
“We´re both big fans of The Simpsons,” says Nowlan, “and we can´t help but think of the episode about Outsider Art. Homer becomes a famous artist when his failed attempt at building a barbeque pit is mistaken for a sculpture.”
Hearts & Pills will be at The Annex Gallery at the Fredericton Playhouse from Januray. 17th through February. 27th. The official opening is Thursday, January. 17th from 5 PM to 6:45.