Sean Scully, Landlines and other recent works
De Pont Museum, Tilburg, The Netherlands
21 April – 26 August 2018
The Landline series makes reference to the edge of land. Scully has removed almost all vertical forms from the works to create, in his own words, “a side-to-side motion”. The horizontal band becomes the central motif, mirroring land as it meets sea and air – but far from serene, the works capture movement and energy, showing an increased freedom of brushstroke. Scully’s loose horizontal bands mimic the repetitive yet wholly unpredictable rhythm of the sea, embracing its overlap, irregularity and discontinuousness.
Many of the works in this series are painted on aluminium, marking a relatively new development in Scully’s practice. Speaking of the material, he points out that “when one paints on it, it pushes back”. The relationship between Scully’s painted bands in the Landline series therefore becomes one not just of colour, texture and form, but of weight and density – the material qualities of air, water and land become evident in his work.
For over a generation, Sean Scully has been considered one of the world’s leading abstract painters. Born in 1945 in Dublin and raised in London, he now lives between New York and Germany. Scully’s work draws on the diverse historical and cultural influences of places that, at different times, have been profoundly important to him. He has taken inspiration from many cherished, varied elements of European culture (ranging from the harmonic ideals of ancient Greek architecture to the vernacular design of stone walls in rural Ireland) as well as Islamic art, architecture and history. Scully has also successfully responded to – and built on – the legacy of abstraction in the United States. His commanding, internationally recognisable style of abstract art combines considerable painterly drama with great visual delicacy.