Masterpiece 8: Sean Scully Masterpiece 8 - Wall of Light Orange Yellow
© The Artist's Estate / Neo Neo Inc. Photo © Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane

Sean Scully (Dublin 1945 - )
Wall of Light Orange Yellow (2000)
Oil on canvas
Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane
The Artist

Sean Scully was born in Dublin in 1945. For financial reasons, the family emigrated to England four years later. In his formative years Scully was greatly influenced by Mark Rothko and from then on, his work eschewed any pictorial representation. He was also greatly influenced by artists such as Titian, Velasquez, Matisse and Rothko. Another early influence was the geometric paintings of the British painter Bridget Reilly.

In 1969 he travelled to Morocco. The North African country's unusual light and dramatic visual patterns had a lasting effect on his work.

Sean Scully is acknowledged as one of the leading contemporary abstract painters in the world today.

The Painting

The painting was greatly inspired by a journey the artist made to Mexico. He was particularly struck by how light fell on the walls of ancient Mayan ruins. Scully's work is a raw and potent building of colour upon colour, paint upon paint. When one examines the painting closely, the edges of previous colour reveal themselves giving the work great immediacy and energy.

Sean Scully's rigorous interrogation of the stripe became ever more pronounced throughout the 1990s. In his continuing Wall of Light series, the stripe is both the subject and the architectural device of the paintings, equally form and content.

In 2002, Scully donated eight paintings to the Hugh Lane Gallery where they are housed in a special room. There is an impressive scale in the works, allied to a great sense of beauty and of tranquility. But they also have great intensity of feeling which allows the viewer to respond personally to them in an instinctive way.

Foreword by Mike Murphy Foreword by Mike Murphy


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