By the mid-1950s, recognisable symbols were appearing alongside the more spontaneous marks and shapes in Davie’s paintings. Though they were inspired by the mythologies of ancient civilisations, these marks did not convey specific meanings. Instead, they reflect Davie’s efforts to allow ‘pure intuition’ to take over, creating images that celebrate the mystical and inexplicable.
Date of work
Oil paint on board 233.7 x 320 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.