Alan Davie CBE, artist
Alan Davie (1920-2014) was a Scottish artist, who, through his relationship with critic and writer Professor Mike Tucker, became a visiting professor at the University of Brighton.
Davie was a saxophonist and jewellery maker as well as a painter. He was influenced by Paul Klee, Jackson Pollock and Joan Miró, as well as by a wide range of cultural symbols and by his affinity with Zen, through which he attempted to paint as automatically as possible in order to bring forth elements of his unconscious.
He was adamant that his images are not pure abstraction, but all had significance as symbols. He championed the primitive, seeing the role of the artist as akin to that of the shaman, a factor that drew Mike Tucker to avid support of his work.
Alan Davie’s relationship with the University of Brighton goes back to 1987 when he was invited by Professor Mike Tucker to lecture at the institution. Returning many times to lecture – and, on occasion, give musical recitals – at the University of Brighton, he was made Visiting Professor in Painting at the university, with Tucker curating a number of important British touring shows of his work including: the ‘Alan Davie: The Quest for the Miraculous (Paintings, Gouaches & Drawings 1959-93)1993-94’; ‘Alan Davie: Drawings’ (in collaboration with the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art) 1997-98, and ‘Alan Davie: Small Paintings 1949-2000’ 2000-2001. Tucker drew on this work with Davie in the writing Dreaming with Open Eyes: The Shamanic Spirit in 20th Century Art and Culture, and further essays included ‘Magic Man: Alan Davie, Printmaker’ Printmaking Today, 2005.