Sean Scully’s large-scale canvases carry on the rich legacy of postwar American abstract painting in an age when much of the critical focus has turned to subject-driven art. Using a deliberately restricted vocabulary of lines or bands of color that allude to architectural elements such as portals, windows, and walls, Scully, an Irish-born, English-trained, naturalized American, has generated a significant, vibrant, and compelling body of work that is widely collected and internationally exhibited. Sean Scully: Twenty Years, 1976-1995 traces the evolution of his art through paintings and related works on paper spanning this important period of contemporary art, a time wherein Scully evolved from a painter whose work was severely hard-edge and minimal, to one whose bravura handling of paint and command of resonant color take nonrepresentational painting towards a decidedly humanistic end.
This book, published to accompany a traveling exhibition organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, includes color illustrations of more than sixty of Scully’s works. An introduction by Ned Rifkin, Director of the High and curator of the exhibition, provides a conceptual framework for the exhibition and an overview of Scully’s art. Essays by prominent international critics and curators, Victoria Combalia, Lynne Cooke, and Armin Zweite, focus on the artist’s evolving vision and accomplishments. An extensive interview conducted with Scully by Rifkin lends insightful personal commentary about the artist’s working method and motivations.