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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Closed for installation
until June 7, 2024

Admission always free
28 Mar 89until22 Apr 89

Some Detached Houses

Robin Collyer, Bill Jones, Todd Anthony Davis, Greg Snider, Robert Linsley, Warren Murfitt, Amy Jones, Dan Graham, Margaret Waylor, Ed Ruscha, Nancy Shaw

555 Hamilton St

A large photo with 2 smaller photos on either side, all in natural wood frames, on a wall. All the photos show black and white landscapes with small buildings in the corner, and phrases in black text.

Todd Davis, ‘Where the Buffalo Roam,’ installation view from Some Detached Houses. Photographer unknown.

The historical situation regarding the subject is represented in the exhibition by Margaret Waylor's work on Palladian villas (the first modern detached houses). One of her works, in which the villa is drawn directly onto gyprock, is viewed through the other, a three­ dimensional cement abstracted villa resting on a "kitchen" table with folded down "Palladian" wings. The relation between topography and farmland development is represented by Robert Linsley's paintings of exurban development in the Fraser Valley, and by Amy Jones' new work in which a large (two meter high) map of the Fraser Valley is laminated onto plywood and cut to the outline shape of a dining-room set in front of a picture window thereby setting up an oscillatory echo between what "was" and what “is".

Bill Jones and Nancy Shaw explore the problems associated with the conflicting desire to be in (secure) and out (free) through the formal device of reflections registered photographically. This is effected in Shaw's case through the use of an actual window frame, and in Jones' with glass over the photographed windows, so the gallery reflections act as a palimpsest to the already existing mirror (the photographed window).

The materialistic over-abundance that characterizes suburban growth is clearly presented in the piece Greg Snider will show — a long drawing/collage in which two double garages form mirror images of excess. (There are two of "everything" within ten feet of each other.)

Warren Murfitt's Four Model Homes are plinth mounted, highly abstracted representations of the "object of desire" — a critique of the pseudo-variation offered to acquire “difference." Todd Davis and Dan Graham here develop the formal nature of the "row" and its similarity to minimalist sculpture. Davis' photocopy enlargements from single "tourist" slides into a complex of 11 by 17 inch “shingles" depict the European model of a "normal" development, the contradictions of which are revealed through the use of a text overlay. Dan Graham, who along with Ed Ruscha, can be said to have founded this entire area of artistic practice in the late 1960s, will show three photographs from the enormous body of suburban work he has produced.

The notion of detachment, and the privacy that theoretically comes with it, is the operative metaphor in Some Detached Houses. The detachment and newly found distance between people that resulted from the flight to the suburbs is reflected in the detachment, distancing and “objectivity" that permeates the work in this exhibition. The show will be an important meeting of work in an important area of artistic practice. To make an exhibition out of such material constitutes, of course, yet another form of “detachment.”