Juan Davila: The Moral Meaning Of Wilderness

Dates & times

Thu 8 July — Sun 15 August 2010


Juan Davila is one of Australia’s leading painters.  In his quest to explore the role of art as a means of social, cultural and political analysis, Davila has produced a body of work that has impelled discussion and critiques of contemporary society.  The exhibition, The Moral Meaning of Wilderness, addresses the contemporary dilemma of modern society’s ambivalent link to nature. The increasing fragmentation and consumerism in art today has resulted in an erasure of the capacity to observe reality, that is, nature and inner nature. Davila addresses this by proposing a direct observation and response to two realities: nature and woman’s jouissance. Both resist a moral qualification. Both are the last locus of the wild, rapture and mystery denied by late capitalism to its citizens since they cannot be quantified. Davila argues for the expression of unconscious feeling rather than the moral, nationalistic and commercial foreclosure of our culture.

This exhibition coincides with the Association of Iberian and Latin American Studies of Australasia Conference, Independence! Two Centuries of Struggle, to be held at the ANU 7 – 9 July 2010.

Image: Juan Davila, What about my desire?, 2009, oil on canvas, 204 x 270 cm. Juan Davila, courtesy Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art.


Updated:  16 February 2013/ Responsible Officer:  DHG Director/ Page Contact:  Drill Hall Gallery