Alan Davie (1920-2014), Studies for a Figure – Mask No.14 , gouache on paper, c. 1975, 59.5 x 84cm, Harrogate.
Alan Davie’s expialidocious canvases are joyous like the mad light of an outsider artist let loose inside the gallery ‘proper’. Bustling forms take over from one another in their ‘strenuous briefness’ – to quote e.e.cummings. The attention juggles and lights on one detail only to be swept overboard and unperspectived suddenly again by another colour more seeming in is strange thingness. Imagination cudgels and childs us with a freedom long sought for in these days of spreadsheets and expenses. Sadly, Alan Davie RA passed away this year but he has left behind a confusing, delightful, evocative shrine to a life of experimentation and vividness. DH