‘Between the Click of the Light and the Start of the Dream’ – Part One

I was first drawn to Dave Dyment’s practice around Christmas of 2008 when I learned about his Glenfiddich Residency and A Drink To Us (When We’re Both Dead), his 100-year-buried cask of single malt whisky. It’s the sort of conceptual work that immediately appealed to me on several levels – as a temporal work and teasing commodity, and also quite simply as a billet-doux to my favourite beverage. I was therefore eager to sneak in a look at Dave Dyment’s latest exhibition at MKG127, Between the Click of the Light and the Start of the Dream, during one of my increasingly-frequent visits to Toronto, and was once again enchanted by what I saw.

Exhibition View (source: MKG127)

Dyment’s latest exhibition is as succinct as it is ever-expansive in its ability to draw out threads of connection among a thoughtful selection of pop-cultural references. The core relationship given visual prominence in the exhibition is the mythological link between Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) and 1939’s The Wizard of Oz, yet personal recollection and the wider body of pop culture expands this narrative beyond mere documentation of the phenomenon.

Addendum to the Tommy Westphall Universe, pencil on paper, 2010; and Addendum to the Tommy Westphall Universe, artist book, 2010 (source: MKG127)

The seeming synchronicity between The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz scarcely scratches the surface of the meta-narratives made possible by a pop-culture landscape often taken as the collective playground of a shared public consciousness. Addendum to the Tommy Westphall Universe is a drawing that bears no small relationship to the works of David Merritt save for Dyment’s reduced sense of preciousness around the mapping of television shows by genre, spin-off and actor associations. Taken as a whole, the work presents a dizzying array of possible television worlds, many of which are familiar while others are just beyond the memory’s reach – one’s engagement with the work is shaped predominantly by the individual’s experience with television. For instance, I was pleased to see the full history of Doctor Who and its various permutations sharing a completed cluster, while I was given considerable pause to see Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the sole representative of its franchise, connected to Webster and The Family Guy of all things.

Addendum to the Tommy Westphall Universe (detail), pencil on paper, 2010 (source: MKG127)

The connections to be woven out of the elements in Dyment’s installation are varied enough that I’ve elected to unpack this discussion across this and two subsequent posts. As Between the Click of the Light and the Start of the Dream closes May 22, tomorrow is your last opportunity to view this exhibition. For my part, I’ll be driving up north to celebrate the late, great Queen Victoria in the time-honoured Canadian fashion – with bonfires and beer – and will be returning by next Tuesday with the second of three parts, continuing with the significance of the multiple in Dyment’s project. And given that Addendum does include British programming, the exclusion of Life on Mars from this narrative with be remedied in part three on Thursday.

Until then, Happy May Two-four, everyone. :)

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