Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2000
Kelly Grovier and Leina González, Sean Scully: Bricklayer of the Soul, Reflections in Celebration, Ostfildern 2015, p. 134, illustrated in colour
More than any artist of his generation, Scully combines the formal traditions of European painting – the brooding tones of Velázquez and Manet and the spectacular colours and brushwork of Van Gogh and Matisse – with a distinctly American abstract tradition, epitomised in particular by Rothko and Pollock. Born in Ireland, he studied in London but sought out the great masters of Abstract Expressionism in New York where he settled from 1975 onwards. Seeing the heroic post-war painting as his direct heritage, it is with Rothko in particular that he shares a special affinity. In Rothko, light combines with darkness and a moody, melancholic drama, and this is the cornerstone of Scully's appreciation of his forefather. He says of his predecessor's work: "The sky and the sea, as well as all the experiences the artist has lived and all the stories he would like to tell are distilled into rectangles that have the solemnity of Stonehenge" (Sean Scully cited in: Michael Auping, 'No Longer a Wall', in: Exh. Cat., Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection, Sean Scully: Wall of Light, 2005-06, p. 24). Like Rothko, Scully has evolved his own abstract language of rectangular brick-like forms that fit closely together and are characterised by broad brushstrokes. By paring down his means to pure colour and surface texture, he seeks to tease out life's vicissitudes from the depths of colour, brushstroke and light that he painstakingly builds layer upon layer into his work. Manifesting a complete adherence to the principal tenets of abstraction, in Between Two Lights Scully lyrically conveys its emotional power, its storytelling potential and above all its capacity to convey light.
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