Sean Scully, 10.7.86, 1986, Pastel on paper, Private collection © Sean Scully
Whilst Scully has consistently engaged with archetypal forms such as the triptych, his work has continued to evolve, informed by his life experiences, for example the architecture and colours of places he has visited and worked including Mexico, Morocco and Barcelona, books he has read such as Joseph Conrad’s novella ‘The Heart of Darkness’, and the work of other artists whom he particularly admires including Mark Rothko, Van Gogh and Philip Guston. The artist has observed: “What I think is very interesting about abstraction is that it is hermetic. Layers of remoteness that people can relate to. I set myself the task of creating an abstraction on one hand severe, but very touchable. Other artists don’t influence me very deeply, but they provoke me.”
Although best-known as a painter, Scully is also a talented printmaker, having worked for a commercial printer and graphic design studio in the early 1960s. This room includes important examples of his prints using woodcut and engraving techniques in order to reveal the impact of his powerful and richly coloured prints on his paintings and drawings. As with his paintings, his woodcuts manifest the physical structure of the triptych through the use of separate blocks that are placed side-by-side, expressing different qualities and directional marks.