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Sean Scully, 1945 —

Fusing the traditions of European painting with the distinct character of American abstraction, Sean Scully’s great achievement has been the reinvigoration of abstract painting with the philosophical and the sublime. In the 1970s Sean Scully had confined his painting vocabulary to tightly controlled horizontal and diagonal stripes. In the 1980s, however, Scully blatantly contradicted himself and began to experiment more freely with the structure and composition of his paintings, which took a determinedly more architectural and sculptural turn, to create an entirely unique aesthetic. In the 1990s Scully embarked on his now celebrated Wall of Light paintings. Taking inspiration from a visit to Mexico in the early 1980s, Scully began to replace the precise stripes of his earlier pieces with blocks of colour, building them with increasingly loose and feathered brushstrokes into irregular structures or ‘walls’ that imply both strength and impermanence.

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Sean Scully – Timothy Taylor