Andrew James Paterson
Never Enough Night

Adam Lauder
the plumb, Toronto
April 26–May 26, 2024
Andrew James PatersonNever Enough Night, exhibition view, the plumb, Toronto, 2024.
Photo: courtesy of the plumb, Toronto
the plumb, Toronto
April 26–May 26, 2024
The clipped verses of a blackened lightbox poem greet visitors to Andrew James Paterson’s eagerly anticipated retrospective at the plumb, a spacious artist-run space tucked in an alley off Toronto’s Dufferin Street. Inside, vinyl colour bars strike the eye as a turntable spins no-wave riffs in an adjacent room. This convivial multimodality is characteristic of the platform-agnostic Paterson, whose career has spanned from fronting for The Government, Toronto’s leading art band of the late 1970s and early 1980s, to his current transdisciplinary practice.

Vintage plaid furniture encourages deep listening to The Government’s deceptively flippant lyrics and to tracks by Derwatt, Paterson’s more recent musical collaboration with Kevin Dowler. The latter band name references the deceased painter at the centre of an art-forgery ring in Patricia Highsmith’s psychological thriller Ripley Under Ground. Pulp-fiction clichés have been a sustaining fascination for Paterson, a renowned cinephile with eclectic taste that runs to the sunshine noir. In Immortality (1987), a video whose irreverent recycling of genre conventions harkens back to his no-wave roots, Sunset Boulevard’s iconic aging star Norma Desmond is reimagined as the chameleonic Norman Desmond. Screened as part of a nonstop 180-minute program synched to the gallery’s opening hours, Immortality is replete with the baroque referentiality and narrative hairpin turns that are signatures of Paterson’s early output.

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