Titled after a Bahamian island, 'Eleuthera' embodies Sean Scully's latest figurative series consisting of portraits of his young son, sometimes accompanied by his mother, in colourful surroundings. In these intimate family pictures the painter's son is portrayed while playing in evocative landscapes. The RHA Gallery exhibition gathers more than forty paintings and works on paper from the series to offer a comprehensive overview.
These figurative paintings contrast against the abstract compositions Scully is mostly known for - juxtapositions of colour stripes and blocks - although both were created in parallel in his studio. While they diverge formally, both cycles reveal the artist's deep fascination with colour. Under Scully's brush the Eleuthera landscapes become emotional portraits where sea and sand turn into rich hues of pink, green or red, colour fields that translate into deep feelings rather than traditional planes defined by natural light.
“I think I wanted to paint pictures of my son in a way that represented him and all boys of his age, in an eternal situation, by the sea. I don’t really care if other people think I can do it or not. I didn’t ask other people if I could or should come to New York either. I’m aware though, if you take enormous risks it can go wrong. But if you don’t it will go wrong anyway.”- Sean Scully, 2019
Credits: Sean Scully, paintings from the Eleuthera series © Sean Scully; exhibition views by Bowe O'Brien, courtesy Royal Hibernian Academy.
For more information visit the RHA Gallery website.