The Park Gallery

The Park Gallery is a contemporary visual arts and crafts gallery situated in Callendar House. The exhibition programme includes work by local, national and international artists and makers. It also offers a programme of workshops and gallery talks, often led by the exhibiting artists and makers, for most of the scheduled exhibitions.


Alan Davie: A Universal Vision

13th September to 31st October 2015

"Painting is just part of life. It happens every day in the same way that music does"
Alan Davie

Alan Davie is arguably Scotland’s greatest painter. Indeed the renowned critic David Sylvester once cited Francis Bacon and Alan Davie as the two most important post-war British painters. A talented musician, poet and painter he drew his inspiration from such varied cultures as the Australian Bushman, Caribbean Indian, Ancient Egyptian, Celt and Pict. Sadly this truly unique painter passed away in April 2014 but his place in history as one of Europe’s most important and influential artists is assured.

The Studio No. 30

Alan Davie: A Universal Vision will be the first Scottish show of Davie’s work since his death last year. Curated by his friend James Coxson and Arts Development Officer Gillian Smith this exhibition aims to highlight and celebrate the life and work of Alan Davie and will show paintings from the 1940s to the year 2000.

Joy Stick No. 4 (1962)

Born in Grangemouth in 1920, he studied at Grangemouth Secondary School where his father, a painter and printmaker taught art. Soon after the Second World War, he worked as a jazz musician, whilst being inspired by exhibitions of Picasso, Klee and African tribal art. At this time he met Janet (Bili) Gaul, a fellow artist, and they married in 1947. The opportunity to take up a scholarship allowed the couple to travel across Europe in 1948.

Look In (1955)

A chance meeting with Peggy Guggenheim in Venice yielded a wealthy patron and an introduction into the New York art scene,

“One day, in 1948, when I was walking through the Campo Manin, I noticed a very exciting painting in the window of a little art gallery. My first reaction was to take it for a Pollock. I went in and met the artist, who turned out to be Alan Davie, a tall Scotsman with a red beard. He had a blonde, equally Scottish wife called Bili. I bought a painting at once and we became great friends. Later his father, a clergyman, wrote me the sweetest letter, thanking me for the interest I took in his son. Alan Davie developed his own style very quickly, and though his work was not bought by anyone except me for years, he is one of the best British painters. Now, like everyone else as good, he has finally been recognized in England and New York, where he has been a great success, though for years he had to support his wife and baby by making jewelry.”
Extract from 'Out of This Century, Confessions of an Art Addict, The Autobiography of Peggy Guggenheim'.

Magic Lamp No. 27

She suggested that Alan exhibit in New York where his work was enthusiastically received by both critics and the American abstract expressionists. By the 1950’s he was experimenting with paint in a way which echoed the work of Jackson Pollock, a common inspiration being the ideal of freeing the intellect to allow the subconscious to peak in a Zen like manner.

In the early 1960s, in the wake of an acclaimed show at the Whitechapel Gallery, Davie began to move away from Abstract Expressionism into myth and magic symbolism. He won great admiration from fellow artists, among them Rothko and Hockney, and exhibited his unique paintings all over the world thereafter.

Cosmic Signals No. 6 (2000)

Alan Davie: A Universal Vision highlights that although there have been shifts in his approach over the decades, influenced by the art and philosophies of ancient cultures, Davie remained true to his vision that his work is intuitive and entirely open to interpretation.

“A painting by Alan Davie is currently on display at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (one of three in the collection), where it is seen by approximately 1400 people every day. I wish the Park Gallery, Falkirk all possible success for its exhibition of the art of a great abstract painter of international fame.”
Dr Philip Rylands, Director of The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice.

The Park Gallery is delighted to be working with James Coxson to celebrate the life and work of one of our most famous artists.

Alan Davie RA

On the 20th of January 2014 I went to Hertfordshire with the Royal Academy Archivist Mark Pomeroy to present Alan Davie with his medal and witness his signing the Roll of Obligation. This is a historic document which includes the signatures of every Academician since our founding in 1768. Our visit signified his becoming a Senior Royal Academician He was at that time, at the age of 93, too frail to come to Piccadilly.

What was so touching was to see this grand old man of British painting at home, in a house he had designed himself, surrounded by his work and to see alongside his chair dozens and dozens of new drawings. He was active to the last, and modestly, quietly, showed us his studio overflowing with paintings, his painting store, his wonderful collection of African art and even the jewellery he made as a young man. A piano and saxophone recalled his love of jazz. I particularly remember the simple daybooks that recorded in a careful hand every work made over many decades.

He lived to paint, and how strongly one felt the presence of his rich imagination. Art history, before it is an academic subject, is an account as true as we can make it, of artists' working lives. Alan was a friend of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, accepted by them as an equal. His was a life of utter aesthetic integrity and spirit that in April 2014, just a few months later, became complete.

Now we can gather in the great harvest of his work. His paintings speak to us in the present, just as they always have. That, for sure, will never be complete.
Christopher Le Brun, President of the Royal Academy

We are very grateful to Katie Davie and Gimpel Fils, London for all their support with this exhibition.


Free parking for cars is available a short walk from the gallery. The Park Gallery is wheelchair accessible. Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf are welcome.


A listing of upcoming events
Event Time
Monday, 12th October 2015
Park Gallery, Falkirk
Park Gallery, Falkirk
Tuesday, 13th October 2015
Park Gallery, Falkirk
Park Gallery, Falkirk
Wednesday, 14th October 2015
Park Gallery, Falkirk
Park Gallery, Falkirk
Thursday, 15th October 2015
Park Gallery, Falkirk
Park Gallery, Falkirk
Friday, 16th October 2015
Park Gallery, Falkirk
Park Gallery, Falkirk
Monday, 19th October 2015
Park Gallery, Falkirk
Park Gallery, Falkirk


Opening hours

Currently closed
Monday 10:00 17:00
Tuesday 10:00 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 17:00
Thursday 10:00 17:00
Friday 10:00 17:00
Saturday 10:00 17:00
Sunday 14:00 17:00
Sunday times are April to September only. Last entry to Callendar House 16:00

See also

Contact us

Park Gallery
Callendar House
Callendar Park

01324 503789
Last updated: 02 October 2015 at 15:16