Influenced by the surrealists, Davie would make prints by sandwiching ink between a pane of glass and a sheet of paper, then scratching the paper with his fingers. He was excited by the element of chance and unpredictability this gave the prints, with the image only becoming visible once the sheet was lifted. He gave these prints names that relate to the natural world.
Obscure Biological Function Surrounded by Nerve Impulses
Date of work
Monotype on paper 25.4 x 40.1 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.