Juan DAVILA: artist

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About the work

Juan Davila’s work is intense and politically motivated, exploring issues as diverse as sexual stereotypes, nationalism and, most recently, detention centres for refugees. His painting style combines realism with post-modern reproductions of found images from popular culture. While always politically driven, Davila’s work is ambiguous and unsettling. Gulf is a typically layered work. It references the British artist Allen Jones’s famous sculpture Table, 1969. Jones’s work features a female figure on all fours with a glass top. Many have found this demeaning, and Davila’s work is a subtle critique of that work’s sexism. With the larger legs hovering above the scrubbing figure on all fours, it sets up questions about domination and subordination and the uneven distribution of labour between the sexes in patriarchal cultures. The Gulf logo is reference to the American oil company. Gulf once boasted the tallest building in America but its pyramid-topped structure was surpassed in 1970. In the early 1980s Gulf was the subject of a hostile corporate merger by a smaller company. These reference points allow Davila to cleverly connect sexual and corporate politics. Gulf ultimately makes the general point that when we get too large, too full of ourselves, we are vulnerable to a sudden downward shift in status.
Artist/Maker and role
Juan DAVILA: artist
oil on canvas
(a) 136.9 x 135.8 cm
(b) 136.8 x 136.8 cm
(c) 136.8 x 136.8 cm
(d) 136.8 x 136.8 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1991
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

View all works by Juan DAVILA (Chilean, b.1946)

This is one of the paintings in our collection.