Untitled signed and dated 'Sean Scully 9.28.84' (lower right) pastel 58.4 x 76.7 cm. (23 x 30 1/4 in.) Executed in 1984
PROVENANCE: with David McKee Inc., New York
Untitled, bears witness to Scully's 40 year love affair with the stripe, which has shifted and evolved but never diminished. Numerous visits to Morocco, where he saw long strips of dyed wool being hung out side by side by carpet makers, was to be the foundation stone for this motif.
Here we are presented with three distinct bands thick monochrome verticals to the left, coloured thin verticals in the centre and thick monochrome horizontals to the right. This triptych arrangement is something the artist was interested in exploring at the time, sometimes for personal reasons. Painted the same year as this lot, the iconic Paul (1984) from Tate Collection memorialises his son, who had recently died in a car accident. Two bands of light verticals are abruptly halted by a heavy section of thick horizontals, alluding to a life force and the untimely end of it.
In the present example however, the three separate bands cohabit easily but do so without giving up their identities. Here is an abstraction that encourages dialogue with the viewer and Scully has always cited the 'spiritual' aspect of his oeuvre. He has commented that he "is trying to get at deep emotions through simple forms" (Irish Arts Review, Spring 2006, p.75). The positioning of narrow stripes set into a background of broader stripes invite us to move forward and backward, introducing a physical and emotional dynamism.
The success of this advance and recession brings to mind film technique whereby the three striped sections can be seen as successive movie frames, one in front (in this case the blue verticals) with the supporting panels ready to appear when required.