Tim McFarlane blogs about a talk given by painter Sean Scully on the occasion of the exhibition Sean Scully: Notations at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, on view through February 24, 2013.
McFarlane reports that "in the discussion [with curator Michael Auping] about his work with abstraction, Scully made an analogy that resonated with me. He said that (I'm paraphrasing here) 'abstraction is like music without words and can be very difficult to get along with, while realism is like music with words and is very easy to digest.' I can certainly vouch for the truth in the first part of that statement, considering the aesthetic and ideological challenges that I constantly find myself up against in the studio. Although, those challenges often result in hard-won rewards in the end. Combine the in-studio challenges with how difficult many viewers find abstraction, then you can have an almost perfect storm of issues to deal with."