PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas July_August 2021

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IDEA ITERATIONS ARTIST SEAN SCULLY'S EXHIBITION AT THE MODERN SPANS 50 YEARS. COLLECTION OF THE ARTIST. IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ARTIST. I rish-American artist Sean Scully recently turned 76 but shows no sign of slowing down. His work can be found in the collections of every major art museum around the globe. In June, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth opened the exhibition "Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas," which encapsulates each era of the Dublin-born artist's ever-evolving oeuvre. The Modern exhibition focuses on Scully's significant contribution to the development of abstraction in various media over a span of nearly 50 years. The earliest works date back to his time at Harvard; more recent works, including Doric Pink Light (2012), are from his Doric series, created in homage to Greece and reflecting ideas of strength, resilience, and stability. "The Shape of Things" features 49 paintings and 42 works on paper rarely seen together. Scully has also created a limited-edition silk scarf (only 55 are being produced) based on his painting Wall of Light Desert Night, 1999, to be sold in The Modern's Gift Shop. PaperCity gathered key players who created this seminal exhibition for a little Q&A: Marla Price, the Modern's director for close to 30 years, who wrote the preface for the show's catalog, as well as the artist's multi-volume catalogue raisonné; Amanda Sroka, assistant curator of contemporary art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and co-curator of this retrospective; and the man himself, Sean Scully, who currently divides his time between New York and Bavaria. The artist sent his answers via an audio recording. Who doesn't love hearing an Irish accent (he draws out the second syllable to dramatic effect when saying Texas) when contemplating the work of one of our modern masters. How did the COVID lockdown impact your work? Did it initiate any new themes or change your studio rhythm? Sean Scully: Yes, it did. And I made five Dark Windows. I made a lot of paintings with black squares in them, which, of course, referred to Malevich's sense of nihilism. But I also lightened my palette and fought back with some new wall-of-light paintings set in a square format, rather than rectangular, which create a kind of circular energy. And I've taken out the ombre from my work. I'm not using many grays, and the paintings are quite vibrant and positive. So, the work is separated into two categories: the depressive and the positive. What are some of your favorite memories of past visits to Texas? Sean Scully: Well, of course, a couple of visits to the Fort Worth Modern. Absolutely beautiful museum. And I'm a friend of the architect, Tadao Ando, who I think is fantastic. And the other one was to the building, Judge Roy Bean Courthouse, which was quite amazing. Quite tiny. I thought it was amazing how the West was in some way so rough and small. What does a typical day in the studio look like for you? Sean Scully: This is a typical day [referring to the day he made his audio recording in response to PaperCity's questions]. I have to do various things, By Billy Fong Sean Scully's Union Yellow, 1994, at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (continued) 24

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