Monday, April 21, 2014

A tribute to Alan Davie

Alan Davie in 2001 image from Guardian obitutary
I recently found out that the great Scottish artist Alan Davie had died. I have been attracted to his work for some time, looking for other artists that have a spiritual, mythic or symbolic elements to their work. The Guardians obituary here 
Cosmic Signals NO 7

Such artists are not usually prominent these days in terms of exhibitions nor usually praised by critics.
I didn't see any of the solo shows that Alan Davie had unfortunately, but saw the odd painting in group shows. So my main connection has been by way of books.
However Gimpel Fils is showing Alan Davies latest art work, 24th April till 23th May which I hope to see.
Gimpel Fils website here Fone Variation II

I have the exhibition catalogue of Alan Davie's show at Tate St Ives, Jingling Space, 2004, which I look at regularly and remain inspired by the work shown in there.

Fairy Tree NO 5 from Tate collection.

Paintings such as Fairy Tree No 5 1971, Cosmic Signals No 7 2002, Island Maps No 14 1998, and Shaman's Window No 3 1999 all have Alan Davie's characteristic use of signs and symbols from a broad range of cultural and spiritual sources
Little Island Phantasy No.2 1998, oil on board, 6 x 8-1/4 inches. Courtesy ACA Galleries, New York  

They are colourful, energetic works that have an elemental feel you can trace by following the lines and forms in the paintings.

Night Sky on a Holiday Tate Collection

In the St Ives catalogue Alan Patrizio writes that " Davie views his activity as a painter as ' fundamentally the same as artists of remote times..... engaged in a shamanistic conjuring up of visions which will link us metaphorically with mysterious and spiritual forces normally beyond our apprehension.' "

Patrizio also writes that "There are both immediate and broad reasons why the work is not 'abstract' in any meaningful sense. The psychic power of images - recognised by jung and the reason why Davie has never abandoned figuration - means we are compelled to make and recreate them anew, over millennia and across cultures."

More of Alan Davies work can be seen at the Tate website here

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