Sean Scully, Change and Horizontals

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK

02 March 2012 - 13 July 2012

Change # 7 (detail)


Sean Scully

acrylic and tape on paper

22.5 x 30.75 in

Courtesy of Neo Neo Inc, New York

This intensely focused survey is comprised of acrylic, ink, graphite, and masking-tape drawings from 1974–75—presented together for the first time in over 30 years—as well as two large-scale paintings from the same period and the artist’s personal notebooks. Culled from two distinct series, the Change and Horizontals drawings—executed in London and New York respectively—highlight the importance of color and form within Scully’s abstractions. Color is always rooted in a particular place, and form manifests the self. Impressions of each city are fundamental to these drawings, as location plays a key role in the artist’s life and oeuvre; as the artist stated in 2006, “People tend to think of abstraction as abstract. But nothing is abstract: it’s a self-portrait. A portrait of one’s condition.”


Scully’s move from London to New York City in 1975 marked a stylistic breakthrough to a period during which he became more engaged with the tones and textures of the metropolis that surrounded him. Sean Scully: Change and Horizontals is co-curated by Joanna Kleinberg and Brett Littman of The Drawing Center. A selection of watercolors made by Scully in 2005 while an artist-in-residence at Villa Massimo in Rome will be chosen by Peter Miller, independent curator, and included in the exhibition at Galleria nazionale d’arte moderna e contemporanea, Rome.


Sean Scully in conversation with Joanne Kleinberg from the Drawing Center, New York takes places Friday 2 March at 12 noon.

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