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In Other Words


Drawing a line between looking and reading. This exhibition from Phantoms in the Front Yard puts writing and painting on a collision course. Each artist in the collective has pursued at least one writer, to establish together a specific selection of words – a short story, poetry, lyrics … as a point of response for original art work. The result is an exciting new collection reflecting the group’s continuing dedication to realistic and detailed rendering, as pressed through various off-kilter processes of responding deeply to other artists’ written creations.

For his contribution to the exhibition, Jay Senetchko created digital-collage based drawings and paintings based  respectively on sections of Ernest Hemingway’s classic A Movable Feast,  and Shane Koyzcan’s poem Spandex Won’t Save Us.  Both paintings and drawing reveal Senetchko’s process creating digital collages of found imagery from the internet.  The final pieces become at once part digital media, photography, collage, painting and drawing…blurring the lines not only between the words that give rise to the imagery, but also between the visualizing mediums themselves.  This exhibition would prove to be prophetic of future works from Senetchko who would continue to not only compose in this manner, but to incorporate this process into the final aesthetic of works in order to further expose parallels and differences between contemporary and traditional mediums.

The titles of the graphite drawings from A Movable Feast are drawn directly from that seminal text, which were also used as the motivating source for the imagery.  Ernest Hemingway himself needs no biographical introduction, but the rising star of award-winning Canadian poet and author Shane Koyczan perhaps deserves one.  Best known for his award winning spoken word performances, and powerfully engaging and authentic in attitude, Shane’s poetry is relevant to our times as it navigates audiences through social and political territory with a furious honesty and a tender humanity that has captivated audiences and motivated standing ovations across the world. In Other Words has Senetchko give visual form to Koyzcan’s poem Spandex Won’t Save Us:

Spandex Won’t Save Us

They gave david suzuki
a spandex costume
strapped him into a catapult
then pointed to one of the larger holes in the ozone layer
as if to say
“fix it”

and despite david susuki’s protests
that this was (at best)
a crazy and desperate plan
that had not been properly thought out
they launched him

and we all watched in amazement

as he flew upwards
and distance pulled out its best magic trick
making him smaller and smaller
until eventually
he vanished

so we launched fireworks
and ate hot dogs
we smiled
we celebrated our indomitable spirit
the government straightened out the FDA
then handed out cures for HIV
and morning after pills
hippies held the hands of rednecks
and despite their obvious differences
found a common ground
in their love of not taking showers

it was beautiful

but david suzuki never came back

so we lowered our heads
and set our cell phones to vibrate for a whole minute
in acknowledgement of the sacrifice we had made


we danced.