Sean Scully: Paintings and Works on Paper
21 March - 25 June 2005
Sean Scully (b.1945) is one of the most important abstract artists working today, a powerful painter who has achieved considerable success in Europe and America. He has recently had a major retrospective at the National Gallery of Australia, as well as a room dedicated to his work at Tate Modern, but this exhibition will be Scully's first major show in a British public gallery in recent years.
Scully's monumental canvases, with their interlocking bars of earthy colour, reflect his early life as well as later influences. His experience of growing up within a tight-knit Catholic community, his love of music and his interest in figures like Rothko and Mondrian combine to create abstract, yet deeply human works. Professor at the art academy in Munich, Scully is dedicated to his art, and to the possibilities of painting. Critical of headline-grabbing conceptual artists, his reputation has - by contrast - grown steadily, and he believes that ‘"painting can have a strong and powerful renaissance".
Although born in Dublin, Scully was raised in London. He attended Croydon Art College in the late 1960s, before studying at Newcastle. He moved to New York in 1975, and became an American citizen eight years later. Working between New York, Barcelona and Germany, he has exhibited widely in Europe and the United States.
The exhibition at Abbot Hall comes at an important stage in Scully's career, and shows a range of his rich and emotionally charged works. As well as large scale oil paintings, there is a selection of his delicate watercolours, pastels and etchings. Some works will be seen for the first time at Abbot Hall, coming straight from the artist's studio, others are important pieces from the last ten years.
Arranged in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition includes twenty-three works and is accompanied by a full colour catalogue. It includes a new essay by the art critic, William Feaver, 'Cultivable ground high above the tide lines of fashion' as well as an interview piece, Sean Scully in conversation with Liliane Tomasko.