Sea Star: Sean Scully at the National Gallery
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Sea Star: Sean Scully at the National Gallery

Daniel Herrmann, Colin Wiggins, Eimear McBride, Vahni Capildeo, Kelly Grovier

Sean Scully (b.1945) is an Irish-born, American-based painter and printmaker, best known for his monumental oil paintings which draw on the traditions of Abstract Expressionism. This catalogue showcases a recent body of work inspired by the National Gallery’s own collection and in particular by J.M.W. Turner’s The Evening Star (c.1830). For Scully, this elegiac picture constitutes one of Turner’s most profound paintings, leading to new departures in his own work. Using the motif of stripes or chequerboards, Scully evokes landscapes and architecture, horizons, fields, and coastlines, in which his contemplative forms become reminders of personal experiences and distinctive moments. Vast, bold panel paintings with richly textured surfaces are illustrated together with delicate works on paper: aquatints and luminous pastels. The accompanying text includes newly commissioned essays, and poetry by Vahni Capildeo and Kelly Grovier, while a unique photo essay by Irish novelist Eimear McBride highlights the sweeping impasto, strong brushstrokes, and vivid colors that distinguish Scully’s painting.

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