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

The gallery’s exhibition will feature new works by the Irish born artist, on display from the 13th April.

Sean Scully, Landline China 8, 2018
Private collection
© Sean Scully. Photo: courtesy the artist

Having been inspired by  the national collection and his love of Joseph Mallord William Turner’s painting The Evening Star (about 1830), Sean Scully’s new work highlights his admiration for colour, composition and the power of painting. 

Considered to be one of the world’s leading contemporary artists, much of Sean Scully’s work is drawn from the traditions of European painting mixed with American abstraction. Although he is practised at  printmaking, sculpture, watercolours and pastels, he is best known for monumental abstract paintings in which stripes or blocks of layered colour are a prevailing motif.

This new exhibition will be comprised of new and recent large-scale, multi-panel paintings that include his celebrated Landline paintings, as well as works on paper to examine how his love of colour and composition is shared with the work of Turner.

Talking about his work Sean Scully said: “I am always looking at the horizon line – at the way the end of the sea touches the beginning of the sky, the way the sky presses down on to the sea… I think of land, sea, sky. And they always make a massive connection. I try to paint this, this sense of the elemental coming-together…”

Sea Star: Sean Scully at the National Gallery will also highlight just how contemporary artists are engaging with the gallery’s collection to create work that reflects old with the new.

Guest curator of Sea Star: Sean Scully at the National Gallery Colin Wiggins said: “This exhibition of Scully’s paintings, pastels and prints with their deep connections to the traditions of Western painting, will allow visitors to see how the work of one the finest painters working today, emerges from the past. At the same time, Scully’s work enables us to appreciate the hidden abstraction in the work of great artists of the past, not least Turner, whose pioneering work has often been seen as anticipating the great abstract painters of the last century.”

Sea Star: Sean Scully at the National Gallery will be on display at the National Gallery from the 13th April until the 11th August.

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