Sean Scully

Sean Scully Explores the Risks of Artistic Life

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The artist channeled arrogance and humility to achieve his goals.

Sean Scully

Sean Scully is a leading representative of a new generation of abstract painters that emerged towards the end of the twentieth century.  His work is strongly acclaimed, and has been exhibited in museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Albright-Knox Gallery, Galleria de Arte Moderna, Bologna and Gallerie Jeu de Paume, Pais.

Sean Scully has moved steadily over the past three decades to his current position in the highest rank of painters working in the abstract tradition.  Scully began painting in the late 1960s and early 1970s amid the dominance of Op Art in Britain. He then moved to America, where, after five years of struggle, he found his painterly voice in the stripe. Scully has relentlessly pursued the possibilities offered by his exploration of colored stripes, always remaining true to his assertion that "the stripe is a signifier of modernism."


Question: How do you find the courage to struggle?

Scully:    Well, if you have any option.  If there’s a doubt, if you have other options, you know let say to be normal.  I would say that you definitely should those options.  So, you’re only really become an artist when you are driven into it or as Yate says, when you are hurt into art and all artists in some way are wounded I think.  If you are compelled to be an artist, you will be an artist and I supposed I did it by having incredible amount of self-belief which comes from tremendous amount of arrogance and… but an arrogance is inform by a certain humility.  And you’ve got a sense your own irrelevance because we are all replaceable and if you understand that you’re free but if your ego it becomes so rigid and desperate and fragile and battled, insistent, rigid you won’t, you won’t get through because you’ll break.  You got to be like a tree that bends.