An exhibition of monumental abstract paintings by Sean Scully, including a new series on aluminum, will be shown at Galerie Lelong. Described by many as the leading abstract painter of his generation, Scully transforms an almost dogmatic reference of the grid into a foundation for emotion, spirituality and poetry.
The exhibition will open to the public on October 30 and will remain on view through December 12, 2009. The artist’s reception, at which he will be present, will be held on Thursday, November 5, from 6 to 8 pm.
In his signature practice, Scully employs rigorous compositions of horizontals and verticals, fields of rich hues and brushwork, and a delicate balance of luminosity and shadow. The duality of structure and sensuality is an essential element for the artist, mirroring pervasive yet conflicting facets of human nature. Throughout Scully's works, rationalism and romanticism coexist.
Since the artist’s last show at Galerie Lelong in 2005, he has experimented in his large paintings with aluminum as a support. Using multi-part constructions, notably the triptych, the artist exploits the sharp edge of the metal against the fluidity of the paint. One of the most radical explorations of this material is in the painting LANDBAR, in which the aluminum is exposed as part of the painting and echoes the sensation of light in the landscape. In addition to this innovation, the current exhibition includes a number of significant paintings from the Robe series.
The artist writes on these works: "As in the ‘Pope’ paintings of Titian, I wanted to express something about how we assign transformative power to sacred and ceremonial robes. The repeated pattern of the painting is set in opposition and dialogue with the romance of its painting . . . I see it as luxurious and austere."
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Charta Books, featuring 33 color illustrations and an essay by Tiffany Bell.
Scully's works can be found in over 80 public collections worldwide. His most recent retrospective opened at the MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst, Duisburg in February this year and will open on October 23 at the Ulster Museum, Belfast. Currently the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin is organizing a retrospective that will open in 2010 and travel to the Kunstmuseum Bern; Lenbachhaus, Munich; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; and Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin. Scully was born in 1945 in Dublin and currently lives and works in Barcelona, Munich, and New York.