Sean Scully: Landline
February 23–May 19, 2019
Irish-born, American artist Sean Scully’s acclaimed “Landline” series of abstract paintings was a major highlight of the 56th Venice Biennale. Sean Scully: Landline is the United States premiere of these works, which represent a dramatic and seminal shift in the work of today’s most important abstract artist. The exhibition marks the first chance for audiences to experience the full range of Scully’s latest evolution, and includes two dozen works never before seen by the public. Landline will be on view at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden September 13, 2018–January 6, 2019 before traveling to the Wadsworth Atheneum.
Sean Scully: Landline traces the series’ expression through a variety of media, with nearly 50 oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, and photographs, and two layered aluminum Stack sculptures. A large-scale, 30 layer sculpture will be installed on the museum’s Main Street lawn in advance of the exhibition, in June 2018.
Known for combining the geometry of European concrete art with the ethereality of American abstraction, Scully’s thick, gestural brushstrokes over grids of stripes and squares evoke the energy and beauty of the natural world. His “Landline” works are largely inspired by his years in Ireland, particularly his time looking out to the sea. In these moments, Scully saw the layers of the world pressed into the space in front of him, forming the stacks that would come to characterize this series. The expressive and unconstrained bands of color reach beyond abstraction and into the sublime, where the contours of landscapes unfold to reveal the physical and emotional dimensions of experience, trauma, and memory.
The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, September 13, 2018–January 6, 2019
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, February 23–May 19, 2019
Sean Scully: Landline is organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC in association with the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.
Images © Sean Scully: Sean Scully, Landline Orient, 2016, Oil on aluminum, Photograph by Robert Bean; Sean Scully, Landline Landline, 2016, Oil on linen and aluminum; Sean Scully painting in his studio.