Alan Davie. The Shaman's Enigma

24 January - 1 March 2008

René Gimpel and James Hyman are delighted to present a joint exhibition of major paintings by Alan Davie, one of the most significiant British Artists of the last half century. Entitled Alan Davie. The Shaman's Enigma, this follows our major exhibition Alan Davie. Recent Paintings and Gouaches, staged in 2003.

One of the leading British Modern Artists, Alan Davie, now in his eighty-eighth year, initially gained his reputation as one of the most important European Abstract Expressionists, a counterpart to Jackson Pollock in America. What both shared was an interest in Jungian archetypes as well as a belief in the artist as a Shamanic figure, as a medium and a channel for expression. Since then, Davie has remained true to this conception, whilst developing a more complex iconography and overt figuration, in which each painting is densely layered with pictures, symbols, signs and text.

Alan Davie. The Shaman's Enigma is the first exhibition to specifically present Alan Davie's word paintings. Focusing on recent paintings, the exhibition shows how this incorporation of words has been fundamental to the artist's development and traces the shifting nature of this engagement, from the playful to the serious, the surreal to the prosaic, the simple to the complex. It also presents the vast array of languages and scripts incorporated by Davie from Aboriginal symbols and Carib petroglyphs to texts in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin.

This major exhibition will also travel to France and Ireland.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by James Hyman