Americas

William E. Jones
Hercules Engines, Abandoned, Canton, Ohio

In the early 20th century, the Hercules Engine Company was doing a brisk business producing customized, heavy-duty engines. Seventy years later, when the United States military started opting for Humvees and stock parts, the company began to fail, and it entirely ceased production in 1999. Hercules Engines, Abandoned, Canton, Ohio (2011) depicts the manufacturer’s former productive core, gone fallow. A sapling has grown up in the loading dock, and a view straight through the industrial interior shows a field on the other side. In this photograph, William E.Jones uses architectural photography as social documentary, personifying the industrial space to such a degree that it becomes metonymic of a once-powerful industry past its prime.

Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker William E. Jones appropriates vintage film material that he rearranges into new compositions. Often concerned with the way gay imagery was depicted in 1970s and 1980s, Jones’s early films explore the complex configuration of homosexual identity with a rather nostalgic and romanticized gaze. Though fashioned in the same way, his later pieces look more directly at pornography and the appearance of fetish in popular culture.