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Alex Noel: Adhesive Love

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 7th from 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Adhesive Love is a series of mixed media works that explore and juxtapose the performance of masculinity in both sport and painting. The term “adhesive love,” borrowed from Walt Whitman’s Calamus poems, denotes “manly bonding” and/or camaraderie between masculine subjects.

This work deals with the covert homoeroticism within the world of sports and the visceral tensions between players on the field and in the locker room that are erased or redefined by the heterosexist culture of athletics.

Painting is much like sport. Just like the football coach will develop a ‘play’ to get the ball past the goalposts, I make rudimentary sketches or write proposals to later develop into objects. Just like sport, my entire body is engaged in the act of painting — it is a performance, not just an end result. And it is a performance that, much like sport, requires the painter or player to engage with a history that has canonized the white, hyper-masculine male. Adhesive Love attempts to reveal these parallels and disrupt assumptions about masculinity and leisure.

As an artist-activist I use my work to offer social critique, informed by both my lived experience and critical theory. I explore themes of identity, morality, and temporality as forms of resistance against overarching systems of power and modes of discourse, to make space for alternative narratives and dialogue.


Alex Noel is a visual artist, activist and community organizer based in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Noel earned a BFA in Visual Arts from Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland (2015) and was a recipient of the 2015 BMO First Art! Award. Their work has been exhibited in Canada as well as the UK and it can be found in private and public collections, including Memorial University’s permanent collection.