Sean Scully

Landlines and other recent works

21 Apr-26 Aug 2018
work in collection

The series Landline refers to the contours of landscape. Scully has eliminated nearly all vertical forms from these works in order to create, as he puts it, "a movement from one side to the other." The horizontal band becomes the key motif, a reflection of land meeting sea and sky. The works are far from being serene, however: full of movement and energy, they show an immense freedom of the brushstroke. Scully's separate horizontal bands imitate the repetitive but completely unpredictable rhythm of the sea and embrace its overlapping, irregularity and intermittency.

Many of the works in this series have been painted on aluminum, a relatively recent development in Scully's oeuvre. With regard to the material, he says that it "pushes the paint back at you." The relationship between Scully's painted bands in the Landline series is consequently based not only on color, texture and form, but also on weight and density: the physical qualities of the sky, water and land become visible in his work.

Sean Scully is considered one of the world's most prominent abstract painters. Born in Dublin in 1945, he grew up in London and now lives both in New York and in Germany.

His work shows the diverse historical and cultural influences of places that have had great importance to him at different times. He has taken inspiration from many cherished and richly varied elements in European culture (ranging from ancient Greek architecture's ideals on harmony to the traditional design of stone walls in the Irish countryside) but also from Islamic art, architecture and history. Scully has successfully responded to – and built upon – the legacy of abstract art in the United States. Over the past two years the painter has returned to more recognizable motifs, having been inspired by photographs that he had taken of his son playing on the beach. A selection of these works can also be seen in the presentation at De Pont.

Click here to watch the video in which Scully himself tells about his work and the exhibition at De Pont.