Alan Davie: Phenomenon of Expanding Form

Alan Davie, Romance For Moon and Stars, 1964, oil on board, 72 x 96 inches (cour
Alan Davie, Romance For Moon and Stars, 1964, oil on board, 72 x 96 inches (courtesy of Gimpel Fils)

Alan Gouk considers the work of the late Alan Davie.

Gouk writes that Davie's paintings "are not really abstract pictures (and neither is Gorky)... Just as abstractness is a relative condition, so many great paintings make the distinction between abstraction and representation irrelevant (Matisse’s The Moroccans being the supreme example). Davie’s pictures are, like it, poised on the cusp between abstraction and representation (semi-figurative) and this they do by retaining and evoking such old-masterish methods as shading and modelling of zones which suggest spatial recession, creating spaces within spaces ... his flurries and spatterings, tend to disguise the extent to which the pictures create space by traditional means, light and shade, and implicit reference to spatial devices, flying putti in the top corners etc., which Renaissance and early Baroque painters used to create the illusion of depth."