(this isn’t quite what i had in mind)
Saturday, February 10 to Saturday March 10, 2007
Opening reception: Friday, February 9 at 8:00 pm
Mark Dahl’s recent body of public text posters and performative gestures display a pointed curiosity with the workings of binary relationships and dialectical thinking. His distinctively plain posters, which have been easily recognizable on the streets of Vancouver over the past years, reflect both the necessary, unavoidable role of binary oppositions in defining our concepts of reality and their potential for limiting, stifling or reducing the human experience.
His site-specific texts locate a poignant, contemplative and often humorous balance point between the poles of many of our defining structures—institutions, political systems, public spaces and sociological landscapes—which challenge and unravel our sometimes tidy dualisms: action and repose, expectation and outcome, attention and distraction, community and individual, the abstract and the concrete. Suitably his sayings carry a simultaneous charge of bewildering vagueness and resounding clarity, part flat declaration, part mesmerizing koan. While referring to the history of linguistically-driven art—concrete poetry, truism, graffiti and manifesto—Dahl’s works reveal a highly individual sensibility which seems, at times, closer to the experiential haiku of Basho or the serious play of Dada than much contemporary text-based practice.
For the Helen Pitt Gallery, Dahl has created four new pieces in video, text and photography which transpose his normally public work into the gallery context. These works directly reference the condition and context of their making, while placing the viewer in an active role of animating their meaning. These projects appeal simultaneously to our anonymous roles within larger, indifferent systems of language and cultural structures as well as the direct, personal experience of daily life.
Mark Dahl lives in Vancouver. His work has been very literally exhibited throughout the city, including recently at Access gallery and in the pages of Front magazine.