Davie took up gliding in 1960 and spent many hours in the air. The activity chimed with his desire to experience the natural world by letting go of reason and allowing intuition to take over. ‘I discovered that I could be a bird,’ he explained in 1963, ‘how much more important than art, just to be a bird.’
Date of work
Lithograph on paper 57.8 x 80.6 cm © Alan Davie
A Scottish painter and printmaker, Davie drew on imagery and symbolism from various world cultures, both ancient and modern, to create paintings of startling originality. Born in Grangemouth, Scotland in 1920, he first earned global recognition in the 1950s as one of the first British artists after the Second World War to develop an expressive form of abstraction. Fascinated by global mythologies, and seeing himself more as a medium – or shaman – than artist, he attempted to liberate painting from mental processes, creating a style that was spontaneous, improvised and complex.