Published: July 31, 2012
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has placed on view two recent acquisitions by the artist Sean Scully (American, b Ireland 1945). “Chelsea Wall #1,” 1999, and the monumental triptych “Iona,” 2004-06, are on view with Scully’s “Wall of Light Heat,” 2001, and “12 Small Mirrors,” 2010, both on loan from private collections, until February. The exhibition of Scully’s paintings is part of the museum’s ongoing “Notations” series.
While reflecting the new directions that Scully’s work has taken over the past decade, both “Chelsea Wall #1” and “Iona” are characterized by the artist’s preference for simple compositional structures and the sensitivity to the interaction of color and light that have long been hallmarks of his work. Since the late 1960s, Scully has made paintings that speak to the history of abstraction, engaging in a complex dialogue with the legacies of Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism, while offering new models for the continuing vitality and relevance of nonfigurative art.
The artist’s basic motif is rectangular blocks of color arranged horizontally and vertically in elegant, variously interlocking configurations often rendered in different scales, from the intimate to the monumental, and enriched by expressive brushwork.
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