Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Work by Juan Davila (update)

Juan Davila, “Guacolda del Carmen Gallardo” (2004), oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm, Courtesy of the artist, © the artist

Reference photography by Richard Francis for Chilean artist Juan Davila (pictured at right), including Spiderwoman (left) and a series of paintings relating to Australian bushranger Ned Kelly (centre).

Juan Davila is one of the most innovative and influential painters to have worked in Australia over the past thirty years. Arriving in Australia from Chile in 1974, his consistent interrogation of cultural, sexual and social identities has resulted in a rich, complex and provocative body of work. A firm believer in the political role of the artist, Davila’s paintings have critiqued directly the Australian political system, the cultural aspects of late capitalism, the structures of the art world and the hegemony of Western art history, the representation of sexuality, and more recently, the treatment of refugees in Australian detention centres. (source)

Here's a somewhat different perspective from "The worst art show ever" by Richard Dorment ("Richard Dorment searches desperately for signs of artistic talent at the 12th 'Documenta' show in Kassel, Germany"):

And that brings me to the question of taste. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw how many works there are on show by the Chilean-born Australian painter Juan Davila, an artist whose high-camp imagery is best characterised as pornographic folk art. His heavy-handed satire is what you'd expect in the work of a political cartoonist, only Davila is a crude draughtsman, uses a paintbrush as though it were a sledgehammer, and isn't remotely funny. Until this show, I didn't think it possible that his work could receive attention outside Australia. (source)

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