Alan Davie

Alan Davie was born in Grangemouth, Scotland in 1920. Davie began his career as a poet and jazz musician before becoming a painter, combining these disciplines throughout the rest of his career. Harnessing his engagement with jazz, Zen Buddhism and prehistoric cultures, his innovative drawings and paintings are the result of a highly improvisatory process that place emphasis on free association and artistic intuition.

Exhibition Open:
Thursdays & Fridays – 2.00pm-6.00pm
Saturdays – 11.00am-3.00pm
Exhibition open until further notice

For over 65 years Davie exhibited in the UK and internationally, with work held in many of the world’s major public collections including MoMA, New York; Tate, London; Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. He died, aged 93 in Hertfordshire in 2014 just before a display of his work curated by Helen Little opened at Tate Britain, London.

Let us Leap is the title of a weekend festival with a vibrant programme of visual art, music and literature selected and hosted by Hertford Arts Hub in partnership with Hertford Theatre, Hertford Library and The University of Hertfordshire. Open to everyone and celebrating the town’s art, culture and people, it takes its inspiration from the work of the British painter, poet and musician Alan Davie (1920-2014), who for over 50 years worked from his home and studio in nearby Rush Green.

This display, which continues until further notice, traces the development of Davie’s practice over the last sixty years, highlighting particular moments in his visual journey. Loaned from the artist’s estate, it features seldom seen drawings and paintings whose kaleidoscopic medleys of gestures, forms and signs celebrate a world of imagination beyond the reality of the now.

Harnessing the artist’s engagement with poetry, jazz and the art of ancient cultures, Davie’s images are the result of a highly improvisatory process in which the artist has combed his subconscious, allowing intuition to guide his responses. Drawn from a wealth of sources, they reach into our collective thoughts and feelings, bringing people together regardless of time, gender, race or background. From his abstract canvases of the 1950s and 60s that draw attention to the materiality of paint and the physical gesture of the artist to later paintings that harness potent mystical symbols and text, Davie’s work demonstrates his commitment to art as a search for beauty that grows naturally with the rhythms of the mind and body.

With plans underway by Herford Arts Hub to establish a new public gallery with a permanent collection of the artist’s work for the town, this is a timely opportunity to celebrate Davie’s legacy.

Curated by Helen Little.

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