Rig Art: Oil Field Girls

Title: Oil Field Girls
Artist: Gerald Bywaters
Year: 1940 | Size: 19 5/8″ x 24 1/2″
Medium: oil on board

A drive through West Texas in the 1930s inspired this painting that is riddled with contradictions. The enigmatic details found amongst the landscape offer scant clues as to the identity of the women or their role in the story. Are they prostitutes? Capitalists heading down the road to a new industry? Do they symbolize a society that is abandoning traditional life where Jesus Saves (like the grafiti on the discarded Coca-Cola sign), and choosing to venture into the unknown where “666” awaits them? Bywaters never fulled explained his interpretation of the piece prior to his death in 1989.