Spotlight on Alan Davie

Tanya Baxter Contemporary
Jan 29, 2019 3:39PM

Featuring our collection of Alan Davie paintings in the run up to 'Cradle of Magic'.Two-man exhibit at Newport Street Gallery which will feature works by Alan Davie and John Bellany. Opens 27th February and will run for 6 months.

This upcoming exhibition will feature 49 paintings and works on paper and will demonstrate the importance of Celtic symbolism and imagery on both Davie's and Bellany's work.

Born in Grangemouth in 1920, Alan Davie was one of the first British artists to explore Abstract Expressionist forms and techniques. His work was strongly influenced by his interest in tribal and ancient art - evident in works such as Five Thoughts (below). Davie worked rapidly on the studio floor using home made paints to produce vibrant colours, shapes, words and biomorphic forms. He wrote that the spontaneous exploration of the magical possibilities of colour was 'perhaps the most important element in my painting (and indeed my life)'.

Alan Davie - Five Thoughts, January 1962, oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm

Adopting a form of automatism, Davie noted in 1959: 'Painting has taught me much, mainly that it is impossible to paint a picture and that if a picture is to be, it must happen in spite of me rather than because of me.'

Davie maintained a profound connetion with his Celtic origins, which manifested in his attitude towards nature; his desire to be at one with it rather than to control it.

Alan Davie - Love Life of E.Z., 1961, oil on board, 48 x 60 inches

Alan Davie - Sweetie Pie, 1960, oil on paper laid on board, 42 x 61 cm

Alan Davie attended Edinburgh College of Art from 1937 - 1941 when he was conscripted into the Royal Artillery. While Serving, he came across Wal Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass' and began to write poetry. After the war, he continued to write and found work as a professional jazz musician before focusing on painting. Music remained an integral aspect of his work.

He has been exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery, London the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and has been awarded the top painting prize at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1963, appointed CBE in 1972 and elected a Senior Royal Academician in 2012. His work is found in many international collections including the Scottish National Galleries, Tate London and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Tanya Baxter Contemporary