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The Drawing Center presents Sean Scully: Change and Horizontals, which begins its transcontinental tour at Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, from January 13–February 11, 2012, then travels to the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK, from March 2 - July 8, 2012, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome from March 14 to June 9, 2013, and The Drawing Center, New York, from September 26–November 10, 2013. This intensely focused survey is comprised of acrylic, ink, graphite, and masking-tape drawings from 1974–75—presented together for the first time in over 30 years—as well as two large-scale paintings from the same period and the artist’s personal notebooks. Selected from two distinct series, the Change and Horizontals drawings—executed in London and New York respectively—highlight the importance of color and form within Scully’s abstractions. Color is always rooted in a particular place, and form manifests the self. Impressions of each city are fundamental to these drawings, as location plays a key role in the artist’s life and oeuvre; as the artist stated in 2006, “People tend to think of abstraction as abstract. But nothing is abstract: it’s a self-portrait. A portrait of one’s condition.” Scully’s move from London to New York City in 1975 marked a stylistic breakthrough to a period during which he became more engaged with the tones and textures of the metropolis that surrounded him. Sean Scully: Change and Horizontals is co-curated by Joanna Kleinberg and Brett Littman of The Drawing Center.
Part drawing, part painting, the 14 geo-abstract drawings on view ply a narrow course between the two mediums; their intimate scale and handmade quality lend an immediacy characteristic of the drawn medium, while the variations in brushstroke and allover surface texture reflect more painterly concerns. While in London in 1974, Scully completed his Change drawings, experimenting with somber acrylics against hard-edged tape grids that are redolent of the city’s smoldering gray haze and industrial horizons. In 1975, he created his Horizontals series while residing in New York City. Concrete forms give way to more idiosyncratic delineations in both the drawings and paintings alike, as the images suggest architectural constructions and interplays of filtered light cast between towering skyscrapers.
The imperfect movement of the artist’s hand, a necessary extension of his change in habitat, is further revealed in the ballpoint ink and felt-tip pen sketches taken from his notebook from 1974–75, also on view. The 60 full-page studies directly correspond to elements in the finished drawings and demonstrate a certain thinking-out-loud creativity. Viewed together, the works chart evolutionary shifts in composition and gesture, which provide unique insight into this artist’s exceptionally singular aesthetic.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Among numerous solo exhibitions worldwide, Sean Scully has had several major retrospectives, including: Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 1989, which traveled to Palacio Velazquez, Madrid, Spain and Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany; Sean Scully: Twenty Years, 1976–1995 at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., which traveled to High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, La Caixa des Pensiones, Barcelona, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland, and Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany; Wall of Light at The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C., in 2005, which traveled to Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Sean Scully. A Retrospective, which traveled to Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain, in 2007, Musee d’art moderne, St. Etienne, France, and MACRO al Mattatoio, Rome, Italy. His most recent retrospective opened at the MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst, Duisburg, Germany, in February 2009 and traveled to the Ulster Museum in Belfast. Sean Scully: Retrospective will travel to Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland and Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz, Austria in 2012. Scully was born in 1945 in Dublin and currently lives and works in New York, Barcelona, and Mooseurach, Germany.
The Drawing Papers publication will be 96 pages with 30 color plates, and will feature an essay on Scully’s drawings from 1974–75 by co-curators Joanna Kleinberg and Brett Littman, as well as a specially commissioned short story by acclaimed Irish novelist Colm Tóibín. The publication will be available in January 2012 for $15.00.
Timothy Taylor Gallery: January 13–February 11, 2012; Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA): March 2–July 8, 2012; Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome (GNAM): March 14 to June 9, 2013; The Drawing Center: September 26–November 10, 2013.
ABOUT THE DRAWING CENTER
The Drawing Center is the only not-for-profit fine arts institution in the US to focus solely on the exhibition of drawings, both historical and contemporary. It was established in 1977 to provide opportunities for emerging and under-recognized artists; to demonstrate the significance and diversity of drawings throughout history; and to stimulate public dialogue on issues of art and culture.