Lisson Gallery

Sean Scully: Wall of Light Land

Beijing, 18 November – Spring 2024

Sean Scully: Wall of Light Land artwork

For his first exhibition at Lisson Gallery Beijing, Sean Scully builds upon recent bodies of work, including his Wall of Light and Landline painting series, while also featuring two recent small-scale sculptural works made from rough-hewn stone blocks.

Throughout his 50-year-long artistic career, Scully has practiced a form of abstraction that aims to reshape the genre. His recent Landlines, of which there is a 2023 example subtitled Grey Blue in this exhibition, result from the hard-won layering and merging of oil pigments in coloured bands across the panel's aluminium surface, in the manner of sedimentary rock striations or horizon lines, suggesting meeting points between earth and sky or between nature and architecture.

Scully often blends and blurs the boundaries between his own bodies of work, showing not only a prowess in tonal balance and pictorial construction, but also an ability to revisit and recompose the essence of abstraction over time and across decades of production. Indeed, the other paintings in this show follow a square format and introduce Scully's newest group of Wall paintings. They recall not only the dry-stone and wooden walls found around the countryside of Ireland and Scotland that were the subject of some of his earliest photographs and striped works, but present complex woven passages of paint referencing and remixing some of Scully's previous compositions, with vertical inflections and doubled ‘bricks’ disturbing the otherwise neat symmetry of each square. “I’m trying to turn stone into light,” the artist has said of the manner in which these building blocks add up to something positive or “clear in its aspiration: to make a wall that is not a brutal divider.”

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