Sean Scully at Art Basel Unlimited

20 Sep 2021 - 26 Sep 2021

Sean Scully, Dark Windows, 2020

'Dark Windows', a suite of five paintings completed in early 2020, combines Sean Scully’s lyrically intense horizontal bands from his 'Landlines' series with an inset painting – a practice of the artist since 1972. 

Scully’s interest in the idea of the window as an image within an image made him capture this motif in his paintings, graphic works, and photography. 'Dark Windows' though stands for a significant development within this work. In the wake of the pandemic, Scully’s windows have turned black for the very first time and the rectangular inset seems to block out the romantic bands of the 'Landline' paintings with their coming together of land, see, and horizon. 'We have what we idealistically imagine, which is represented by this seductive painting, and what we actually have, which is a blacked-out view, a very uncertain, hard view.', he says.

Sean Scully has often referred to the Irish poet William Butler Yeats when speaking of his own work: 'One might say that the Romantic impulse needs and depends upon friction, divide, and schism and this is a problem of identity, a split which can be worked out and resolved through the making of art ...'

'Dark Windows' incorporates this duality with masterly proportion and austerity, bringing out a clairvoyant appraisal of our relationship to nature. It is a painterly declaration calling to mind the work of Kazimir Malevich, with the fundamental directness of the black inset punctuating the romantic lines of nature, while yet again his Landlines embrace the blackness and take it out of isolation: an unflinchingly humanistic view of our times. 

Sean Scully (born 1945 in Dublin) is recognized as one of the most important abstract painters of our time. His works have been shown in more than 200 solo exhibitions and are represented internationally in numerous museum collections. Scully lives and works in Upstate New York, France, and Germany.

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Sean Scully