Alan Davie was a renowned Scottish painter and musician. Born in Grangemouth, Scotland, Davie went on to study at the Edinburgh College of Art from 1937-1940. Davie’s work is characterised by vivid colour, semi-abstract forms, and wandering cross-cultural symbolism, inspired in particular by Zen spirituality and the analytical psychology of Carl Jung.
Davie worked, much like one of his contemporaries and influencers Jackson Pollock, by laying the canvas on the ground and working from above, often applying several layers of paint over the initial design. Although visually abstract, Davie was adamant that his paintings were significant as symbols and asserted comparisons between the role of artists to that of the shaman or soothsayer.
Much like the surrealists that proceeded him, both chronologically and conceptually, Davie found himself compelled by psychoanalytic theory. However, whereas his predecessors focused on the work of Sigmund Freud Davie’s attention was on his successor Carl Jung. Davie experiment with automatic drawing – like the surrealist artists and Miro most famously – in order to explore the inner workings of the subconscious.