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Jose Dávila | The Circularity of Desire

May 7 - June 19, 2021

I’m interested in the circle as the most platonic of forms, it has been a constant human desire. The circle is the symbolic element of human progress.

The Circularity of Desire, Jose Dávila’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, is based upon research the artist conducted during the pandemic into the iconography of the circle and its presence throughout art history in the 20th and 21st centuries. Comprised of new paintings, sculptures, and silkscreens on cardboard, themes of circularity and the recurrent influence of circular forms throughout art history unite these interrelated bodies of work.



The astonishing walking achievements of human beings, 2021
silkscreen print and vinyl paint on loomstate linen
92 1/8 x 74 13/16 x 2 3/8 inches (234 x 190 x 6 cm) JDa-21.03


The canvases, constructed of silkscreen print and vinyl paint on raw linen, contain texts regarding the use of light as a compositional tool, juxtaposed with circular elements appropriated and recontextualized from paintings by artists including Hans Arp, Willys de Castro, Sonia Delaunay and Frank Stella, amongst others. These paintings employ a unique procedure linking images and texts which otherwise would not intersect, enabling the viewer to generate personal connections between what is seen and what is read.


The figure is silhouetted in a lead-line that might have been traced around a commonplace life drawing
2021, silkscreen print and vinyl paint on loomstate linen
90 9/16 x 135 7/16 x 2 3/8 inches (230 x 344 x 6 cm), JDa-21.04AB

.02 & .06

The human equilibrium apparatus is suspended within a container like a balloon, 2021
silkscreen print and vinyl paint on loomstate linen
82 11/16 x 66 15/16 x 2 3/8 inches (210 x 170 x 6 cm), JDa-21.02

Walking in circles, 2021
vinyl paint on loomstate linen
55 1/8 x 44 9/16 x 2 3/8 inches (140 x 113.2 x 6 cm), JDa-21.06


When the head nods "Yes", 2021
silkscreen print and vinyl paint on loomstate linen
82 11/16 x 66 15/16 x 2 3/8 inches (210 x 170 x 6 cm), JDa-21.01

painting. 5

The circle of Craftsmen, 2021
silkscreen print and vinyl paint on loomstate linen
90 9/16 x 135 7/16 x 2 3/8 inches (230 x 344 x 6 cm), JDa-21.05AB

Dávila’s new sculptures are focused on themes that prevail consistently throughout his practice; a visual articulation of the force of gravity through precarious balance and a desire to draw attention to art historical references that have particular meaning for the artist. Expanding upon these two concerns by incorporating the idea of circularity, Dávila has created a new vocabulary with which to address themes of balance, poetic intuition, the symbolic nature of materials and important art historical moments.

To use gravity as a variable in the equations of sculpture-making, perhaps the most important variable, is still a part of the whole equation.

sculpture 21.2

Acapulco chair stack, 2021
metal, enamel paint and boulders
53 3/4 x 33 7/16 x 54 1/2 inches (136.5 x 85 x 138.5 cm), JDa-21.12

sculpture 13 & 20

A secret wish, 2021
boulder and wire
42 1/2 x 12 3/4 x 9 5/8 inches (108 x 32.3 x 24.4 cm), JDa-21.13

Objet du voyageur (The traveler's item), 2021
concrete and metal
65 3/16 x 31 1/2 x 20 1/2 inches (165.5 x 80 x 52 cm), JDa-21.14



Completed Cycle, 2021

glass sphere and sand

diameter: 36 1/4 x 61 7/16 inches (92 x 156 cm), JDa-21.25

The volumes, geometry and lines that define Dávila's sculptures suggest an alternate, spatial notion of painting and drawing in space. Natural and manufactured elements such as wood, steel, stone, glass and metal coexist; some have been used for centuries to shape our life—others only since the Industrial Revolution. Dávila incorporates all these elements in their primary form with minimal intervention, resulting in compositions that allow for dialogue between the materials in an unfettered state.

Art should broaden the scope of intuition, freedom, madness, impracticality, and wonder over reason.

sculpture 23 & 14

The old tree is worth keeping after all, 2021
wood, metal, boulder and wire
146 1/16 x 94 7/8 x 52 inches (371 x 241 x 132 cm), JDa-21.20

Untitled (the fable of the apple or an explanation waiting to happen), 2021
bronze, rock and wire
dimensions variable, JDa-21.23

Dávila’s large cutouts of photographs taken from images of Roy Lichtenstein’s famous Brushstroke paintings pay homage to the artist and draw attention to the continuities in art history, while making a conceptual reference to Dávila’s own paintings addressing the circle.

Brushstroke diptych

Untitled (Brushstroke), 2021
archival pigment print
paper: 88 3/16 x 55 1/8 inches (224 x 140 cm) each
framed: 90 x 56 11/16 x 3 inches (228.6 x 144 x 7.6 cm) each
overall: 90 x 114 5/8 x 3 inches (228.6 x 291.1 x 7.6 cm)
edition of 4 with 1 AP, JDa-21.19.1 

When something is missing, we feel compelled to fill in the void, and that’s when imagination comes into play – as the void becomes a place of wonder, of creating your own story.

cutout 15

Untitled (Brushstrokes Poster), 2021
archival pigment print
paper: 65 3/16 x 49 7/16 inches (165.6 x 125.6 cm)
framed: 66 15/16 x 51 1/4 x 3 inches (170 x 130.2 x 7.6 cm)
edition of 4 with 1 AP, JDa-21.15

Dávila has also produced a series of silkscreens printed on found cardboard incorporating existing logos and markings on the material. The circular graphics reference pop art and draw attention to the recycling of material and mass consumption.


cardboard due 1

Discontinuous Order, 2021
silkscreen print on cardboard
framed: 28 3/4 x 24 7/16 x 1 3/4 inches (73 x 62 x 4.5 cm) each, JDa-21.29 & JDa-21.42

Jose Dávila has been the subject of major solo exhibitions at Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX; the Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico; Sammlung Philara, Dusseldorf, Germany, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Hamburg Germany and Marfa Contemporary, Marfa, TX amongst others. His work is in the permanent collection of numerous institutions including, the Centre Pompidou, Paris France; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; the Perez Art Museum, Miami, FL; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City, Mexico; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Inhotim, Brumadinho, Brazil; Albright-Knox Museum, Buffalo, New York; the Zabludowicz Collection, London, United Kingdom; the Cisneros Foundation, New York, NY and Miami, FL; the Museum of Modern Art, Luxembourg; San Antonio Museum of Art and The Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, Houston. Dávila was the winner of the 2017 BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art’s Annual Artist Award, the 2014 EFG ArtNexus Latin America Art Award, he has been the recipient of support from the Andy Warhol Foundation, and the National Grant for young artists by the Mexican Arts Council (FONCA) in 2000. In 2017 the Getty Foundation awarded the Los Angeles Nomadic Division a grant to develop a mid-career survey of Dávila’s work.


4 cardboards

Discontinuous Order, 2021
silkscreen print on cardboard
framed: 28 3/4 x 24 7/16 x 1 3/4 inches (73 x 62 x 4.5 cm) each

JDa-21.32, JDa-21.28, JDa-21.33, JDa-21.37

Exhibition Press

Exhibition Film



Exhibition Programming 

Curator Conversation: Jose Dávila and Pedro H. Alonzo, June 3, 2021


Jose Dávila & Sean Kelly in Conversation