Works 1970-77

Inch to a Foot, silver prints, installation view, Exploratory Space,
The Vancouver Art Gallery, Solo, 1972

Jones’ 1972 solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery included An Inch to a Foot, 1971, (above) in which Jones photographed a 12 inch wooden ruler then enlarged each inch section of the ruler image to the width of one foot. Also included in the 1972 exhibition were Jones’ “Landscapes” which are photographs of building exteriors where a reflection of trees and mountains can be seen. Jones then had window glass cut to the shape(s) of the window frame(s) in the photo and then bolted those glass sheets over the window in the photograph.

Landscape #1, 1971, silver print, cut glass, 122 x 122 cm, 48″ x48″. Collection The Vancouver Art Gallery.

The Merchant of Venice, 1973 is a 40 foot long photo assemblage made up of 13 images copied from an 1890s Booklovers edition of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, an 1890’s picture magazine with a picture ad for the entire Booklovers Edition of Shakespeare’s collected works. The scale of each panel is based on objects in the advertisements that claim the items in the ads are “Actual Size.”

The Merchant of Venice, Installation view, Pacific Vibrations, The Vancouver Art Gallery, 1973
The Merchant of Venice, Detail
The Merchant of Venice, Detail

Elevations, Levitations and the Twist, Table 1, 1973-74, black and white and color photographs, dowel legs 48 x 64 x 30 inches.

Jones’ 1973-74 work Elevations, Levitations and the Twist presents asks a vexing question. How many photographs are on each table in the installation. If one looks at the photographic table top above, we see a number of books and magazines and an arrangement of 28 snap shots with their white borders. Eighteen of the snaps appear to be laying on the table top and 10 of the snaps are reproduced in two of the magazines open on the table. In fact there are only three photographs in the actual photo-assemblage pictured above. One is the mural black and white photograph that is mounted on the plywood table’s surface and the other two are 16 x 20 inch color photos of an open Life magazine and a book on cubism, pinned to the photo-table top. The question of how many photographs are on table top above is further clarified through the seven photo tables in the installation. Table one (above) is photographed from directly above. Subsequently, each table top in the series shows the table from a lower angle until we see a side view or “elevation” in table seven. With each iteration, the trompe l’oeil effect of table one is challenged, making the two color photos pinned to the surface more apparent as photographs “on” the table as opposed to the snapshots “in” the black and white table top image.

Elevations, Levitations and the Twist, 1973-74 (foreground), Landscape # 3 (background) Installation view Bill Jones: A Survey, The Vancouver Art Gallery, 1976
Casino Royale, 1974-75, Detail, installation view A Space, Toronto, 1975

Casino Royale is built on a narrative premise that four card players come to a table and play a game of stud poker. The four players represent the three face cards and 10 of each of the four suits in a standard card deck. On each table sit four decks of cards made from color photographs. If laid out suit by suit they form a complete image of the table at various stages of the game. As a secondary text, Jones’ family history and their movement westward across the United States as homesteaders is chronicled in family photos which double as playing cards.

Casino Royale, 1974-75, installation view Bill Jones: A Survey, The Vancouver Art Gallery, 1976
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