Published: January 8, 2008
Sean Scully, described as “the modern-day savior of abstract art” by The Wall Street Journal , is one of the most esteemed abstract painters working today, and the stripe is the key motif in his work. The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College will present “Sean Scully: The Art of the Stripe” in an exhibition exploring the development of colorful stripes in Scully’s work over four decades. Scully will speak at the opening events for the exhibition on Friday, January 18, at 4:30 pm in Loew Auditorium. The talk will be followed by a reception in Kim Gallery.
The exhibition, filling the entire second floor of the museum, will explore Scully’s geometric works of the 1970s, which led to the breakthrough paintings of the early 1980s and his more painterly stripes of the 1990s and the present. The display culminates with the first showing in America of the artist’s “Holly” series, made in memory and in honor of his mother. Through its 24 large oil paintings, small selection of photographs and documentary film about Scully, the exhibition also engages the artist’s fascination with the architectural structures of our built environment, an inspiration in much of his abstract painting. The exhibit will be on view through March 9.
Scully is known for painting bold patterns of vertical, horizontal and occasionally diagonal stripes in blocks of layered color as a means of exploring the nature of human relationships. He is inspired by aspects of everyday life, from the constructed grids of skyscrapers, strung-out suburbs, railway lines, motorways and telephone lines to airplane routes, walls and garage doors. Scully’s pursuit of multiple variations on the theme of the painted stripe, bar and block is consistent with his assertion that “the stripe is a signifier of modernism.”
“The Art of the Stripe” includes early works as well as several works from Scully’s acclaimed “Wall of Light” series, including the Hood’s own “Wall of Light, Summer,” 2005, featuring the artist’s softened color-block structures, varied in texture and filled with colors seeping from underlayers of the composition.
Scully was born in Dublin in 1945, but lived in London, receiving his artistic training at Croydon College of Art and then Newcastle University, beginning his career as an artist in the late 1960s and early 1970s amid the dominance of Op Art in Britain.
He moved to New York City, where he began painting predominantly dark, densely striped works that were both highly disciplined and contemplative. In the early 1980s, Scully soon attracted a steady and growing group of supporters and collectors.
Scully’s work has been exhibited widely in Europe and the United States including exhibitions at the Kunstammlung Nordeim Westfalen in Dusseldoerf, Germany, 2001; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2000. His work is in museum collections worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C.; the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid; the Tate Gallery in London; the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin; and the Nagoya City Art Museum in Japan.
For general information, www.hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu or 603-646-2808.
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