An eye for pie

Alan Davie, 'My Heart for A Fruit, opus O.543A', May 1964, oil on board, 122 x 182 cms. From Gimpel Fils.

Alan Davie, 'My Heart for A Fruit, opus O.543A', May 1964, oil on board, From Gimpel Fils.

My heart for a fruit. Well that would have to be a blackberry. I’d give my heart for a pail of those, picked fresh from the piney woods. I know they are seedy and that’s a minus, but as a girl I would scour the brambled floor of the woods for them, eyes squinting though the gloom.

Maybe it’s the delectable joy of discovery, or the private burst of ripeness, intense and purplesweet. Maybe it’s the triumph of plucking the berry from under the prickly nosed thorns,unscathed. Not many would make it back to the kitchen, but those survivors would be plunked into a pie. With a squeeze of lemon juice and a heap of sugar.

I love this kitchen because it’s colorful and messy, improvisational. Because if you are a foodie, your kitchen is rarely clean. A sparkling kitchen both scares me and makes me sigh with joy. Scared, knowing that within a matter of minutes something will be dumped on the counter, thoughtlessly destroying perfection. Joyful, knowing there is a clean slate to tackle the daily cycle of mealtimes that would make even Sisyphus cry.

This still life is a happy chaos. Fresh and immediate.  However, Davie presses each contrasting element into unity using that blissful teal blue background. We could get nervous about that pile of motion on the left side, but the strong circles and curving lines soothe our visual palate.

I see a rolling pin and pie in this painting.  And a curved stick of butter, essential to every pastry (and meal for that matter – thank the French.) Butter and cream. But the nutritionists preach the need to eat colorfully. So why not – isn’t that a red strawberry pie sitting right there on the counter? Grab a fork.


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