Sean Scully
Artist
02:19

Sean Scully Reflects on His Audiences

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The artist says you have to be sensitive and insensitive at the same time.

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."

Transcript

Question: Who likes your art?

Scully:    Well, the primary audiences for my work are people who are interested in art that is demanding I think.  That serious, demanding spiritually based.  Has a lot of information in it, you wouldn’t find a lot of the people who are interested in descendants of Pop Art to be maybe embracing my work.

Question: How do you want audiences to react to your work?

Scully:    The way I am making my painting is very simple in a certain sense, it’s rudimentary, they look like carpets or walls or whatever simple construction.  Somebody said they were like Lego, so they are in fact a universal language like Lego that really has a basic universal building language so it’s very interesting remark but what I bring to it is the nuancing of relations.  The nuancing of the way things that come together, the way the plates of the world are abated.  The way things seat next to each other so really like a figurative painter I’m painting relationship and I want people to understand the universal possibility of how relationship are put together and how they can fit that into themselves and use it.  How they can really apply it.

Question: What is it like to be scrutinized?

Scully:    What I would say is this, that in order to be an artist you ask we what the winning mind set was.  Artistically, I think you have to be massively insensitive and extremely sensitive.  And how you do?  That is up to you.


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