Large-format Atmospheric Abstraction
Sean Scully. «Grey Wolf» – Retrospective
The Kunstmuseum Bern is showing a retrospective of Irish-American artist Sean Scully (b. 1945), a leading representative of abstract art. The exhibition is a joint production of the Kunstmuseum Bern and Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, and was planned in close collaboration with the artist himself. This enables the Kunstmuseum Bern to provide an overview of Sean Scully’s key paintings from all phases in his creative development.
Already at the age of nine Sean Scully decided he wanted to become a painter. After an apprenticeship in the printing trade he went to night school where he learnt the techniques of painting. During Sean Scully’s years of study Mark Rothko was among the artists he discovered who was to have an influential impact on his art: He turned from figurative painting to pursue abstraction. After Scully received a scholarship that allowed him to spend time in New York, he had his first one-man show in a gallery, and all the paintings were sold. From 1984 to 1989 he acquired international fame. Meanwhile, Scully’s art is represented in over 80 museum collections all over the world.
Scully’s early paintings are typically striped patterns displaying great precision of line, strongly defined areas, and contrasting colors. Later on Scully achieved great depth in his work by painting lines by hand and applying layers of different color tones. Through color Scully achieves a strong emotional quality in his work. He uses mainly black, brown and red tones, leaving visible brushstrokes by applying paint with a stiff brush.
The exhibition is presenting a total of around 57 mostly large-format paintings on loan from US donors and leading European museum collections.The show will be accompanied by a catalogue in German and English, in which the artist comments personally on individual works. The supporting program will provide diverse events inspired by the atmospheric quality of Scully's art.