1945 · Ireland
Acclaimed for his abstract paintings that emphasize the role of line and simple pattern, Irish painter Sean Scully underpins the freedom of his abstract approach with what is clearly a devotion to the formal qualities of geometry. Having moved between a vibrant and monochromatic palette over the years of his enduring career, Scully has stayed consistent in his approach of layering paint on the surface of the canvas as he explores the pictorial space. Accordingly, viewers who take in his work get to relive the process themselves, as if back in the studio of the artist.
Born in Dublin in 1945, Scully and his family moved to London while he was still a young boy. It was in that city that Scully began his first apprenticeship with a print shop in 1960, a role that perhaps spurred him to begin taking classes at London’s Central School of Art soon after. From 1965 to 1968, Scully studied at Croydon College of Art, and while there he became enamored with the work of the Abstract Expressionist generation. Following additional studies at Newcastle University between 1968 and 1972, Scully moved to New York with the support of the Frank Knox Fellowship. He enjoyed his first solo exhibition at London’s Rowan Gallery in 1973; in 1977, he had his first solo exhibition in New York. It was by this time in his career that he had refined his characteristic style. The 1980s were a time of more developments in his approach with more accolades, such that over the subsequent decades he was recognized as a powerhouse of the art world. He was fêted in 2007 with one of the first retrospective exhibitions of his work at the Mirò Foundation in Barcelona; his work was celebrated once again in 2019 with the National Gallery of Art in London launching a new showcase of his work.