The National Gallery London has just announced an exhibition of new work by Irish-born, American-based contemporary artist Sean Scully (b.1945). Inspired by the National Gallery Collection and his love for Joseph Mallord William Turner’s painting The Evening Star, he charts a personal journey of deep admiration for colour, composition, and the power of painting.
Poignant and poetic, Scully’s abstract works are constructed from panels painted in oil
In Turner’s The Evening Star (1829–30), the single figure of a boy on the shore sets off for home as sky and sea darken. For Scully, this elegiac picture is one of Turner’s most profound works and he feels a deep connection to it.
Poignant and poetic, Scully’s abstract works are constructed from panels painted in oil, often with thickly applied paint to create rich, textured surfaces. Using the motif of the stripe or chequerboards, the artist evokes landscapes and architecture, horizons, fields, and coastlines; his contemplative forms become reminders of personal experiences and distinctive moments.
Born in Dublin in 1945, Sean Scully grew up in London and settled in America in the mid-1970s. One of the most admired abstract painters working today, his work draws on the traditions of European painting, invigorated with the distinct character of American abstraction. In a career spanning six decades – and counting – Scully has risen to international prominence, with work held in major public collections worldwide.
Scully’s varied practice encompasses printmaking, sculpture, watercolours and pastels, but he is best known for rich, monumental abstract paintings in which stripes or blocks of layered colour are a prevailing motif.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Sean Scully: 1970, Laing Art Gallery and Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, UK (2018) and The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK (2018); Facing East, State Russian Museum – Marble Palace, St. Petersburg, RU (2018); Vita Duplex, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, DE (2018); Landlines and other recent work, De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, NL (2018).
Other Forthcoming exhibitions include: Sean Scully: Inside Outside, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK
(September 2018 – January 2019) and Sean Scully: Landline, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden,
Washington DC, US (September 2018 – February 2019).