BP Spotlight: Alan Davie

Alan Davie, ‘Birth of Venus’ 1955
Alan Davie
Birth of Venus 1955
Tate
© Alan Davie

Alan Davie’s activity as a painter is often described as resembling that of shamanistic artists of remote times engaged in conjuring up visions linked to mysterious and spiritual forces. His paintings are the result of an improvisatory process, their gestures and biomorphic forms celebrating a world of imagination and beauty at odds with the common view of the alienation and disaffection of the post-war milieu.

Harnessing his engagement with jazz, Zen Buddhism and prehistoric cultures, in Davie’s earlier work the images emerge from networks of spontaneous forms that often overlap and obscure each other until the final composition is revealed. From his abstract canvases of the 1940s and 1950s that draw attention to the materiality of paint and the physical gesture of the artist to later works with their mystical symbols and text, Davie’s painting demonstrates his commitment to art as a search for inner beauty that grows naturally with the rhythms of mind and body.

This display, showcasing all eight of Davie’s paintings in Tate’s collection, accompanied by material from the artist’s personal archive, is a timely opportunity to reassess his unique visual language. It traces the development of Davie’s practice over sixty years, highlighting key moments in his visual journey.

Read the accompanying curatorial essay for this display’ at the bottom.

Read

Alan Davie Essay

Essay on the painter Alan Davie accompanying his BP Spotlight display at Tate Britain during 2014

See also

Tate St Ives Exhibition

Alan Davie: Jingling Space

25 Oct 2003 – 25 Jan 2004
Alan Davie: Jingling Space past Tate St Ives exhibition highlighting the evolution of Davie's work from the 1930s to ...
FREE
Tate Etc

Alan Davie's Celtic Dreamboat I 1965 Tate Britain Rehang

Tate Etc. invited a selection of contemporary artists featured in the new rehang of British art at Tate Britain to ...