Alan Davie The List
Red Dwarf 1962 National Gallery Scotland
|Birth of Venus 1955 Tate|
As described by Gimpel Fils
Having met Peggy Guggenheim in Venice 1948, Alan Davie was one of the first British painters to be exposed to early examples of American Abstract expressionism. Paralleling developments made by Pollock, Rothko and De Kooning, Davie experimented with abstraction throughout the 1950s, producing canvasses such as Domain of the Serpent, 1951, which juxtaposes geometric shapes with the beginnings of his fluid gestural brushwork. Executed in rich impasto black and red oils this painting hints at how Davie's work was to develop over the next decade. Throughout this period, Alan Davie produced works that indicate an interest in the relationship between the vitality of life, painting and spirituality.
Heavily influenced by his love of jazz (Davie is an accomplished musician as well as painter), the works in this exhibition illustrate how Davie came to marry a sense of improvisation and spontaneity within a bounded structure. Having also viewed Peggy Guggenheim's collection of Surrealist works, Davie's interest in the freeing potential of music, seems wholly in synch with Breton's notions of automatism and the release from self-consciousness. Goddess of the Wheel, from January 1960, demonstrates the agility of Davie's approach to painting, with its fusion of colour and movement. In this work, an underlying structure is present, across which dynamic, free flowing forms give expression to the creative subconscious.