How Sean Scully Bent the Grid

Sean Scully, Shadow, 1970, acrylic on canvas, 96 x 144 inches (courtesy of Cheim
Sean Scully, Shadow, 1970, acrylic on canvas, 96 x 144 inches (courtesy of Cheim & Read)

Robert C. Morgan reviews Sean Scully: Circa 70 at Cheim & Read - 16–13 Stephen Street, Ridgewood, Queens on view through July 1, 2016.

Morgan writes: "Eager to dispel any and all traces of what he knew was “out there,” Scully assiduously began to paint in relation to layering. Rather than forsaking the grid, he blew it up, colorized it, and morphed it in such a way that it nearly disappeared in the process of its expulsion. The emotional effervescence was unmistakable yet remarkable in its off-hand control... Take a look — a hard look — at paintings like the early “Shadow” (1970), where the surface is layered with at least four motifs. Swaggering, curved lines from beneath are held in check by streaming, blurred, white horizontals with blurred black verticals on top; and if that were not enough to disquiet the soul, Scully marches forth with another layer of ochre and pink striations at indeterminate intervals, seamlessly putting each of them in place."