Alter Gallery 176, first floor
Sean Scully's paintings speak eloquently to the history of abstraction, engaging in a passionate conversation with the legacies of Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism while offering new models for the continuing role of nonfigurative art. An American artist of Irish birth, Scully employs the basic motif of colored blocks arranged horizontally and vertically in elegant, variously interlocking configurations. This visual idiom— expressed on different scales, from the intimate to the monumental, and enriched by Scully's expressive brushwork and remarkable sensitivity to the interaction of color and light—resounds with the clarity and complexity of architecture.
Notations: Sean Scully features two major works by this internationally acclaimed artist that were recently donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Chelsea Wall #1 (1999) captures the spirit of the postindustrial urban landscape around the artist's New York studio (and was the first major picture he completed in this space). The majestic triptych Iona (2004-6) stands as a somber meditation on the small, tranquil island of the same name in Scotland's Inner Hebrides. The installation also includes two additional works by the artist on loan from a private collection, among them his 12 Small Mirrors painted on copper panels.
Notations is an ongoing series of gallery installations named after the 1968 book by American composer, writer, and visual artist John Cage, who was widely celebrated for his experimental approach to the arts. The Notations series at the Philadelphia Museum of Art serves as a flexible tool to explore contemporary art.