Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Dublin gallery day - part 3 of 3

More than two weeks have passed since I made my big excursion in to Dublin for a "gallery day", but it was impossible to blog about it all in one blog day, so I divided up chronologically to suit how my day went. I blogged about the first two stops (The Molesworth Gallery and The National Gallery) last week, and you can find that blog here and I continued on to see Damien Flood's new exhibition, Tilt, at the RHA, which I blogged about here. The RHA is so huge that there was another big exhibition going on across the hall: Sean Scully's "Eleuthera", recent paintings titled after the Caribbean island where his family holidayed a few years ago.

It was a huge coincidence that I had seen an earlier, small abstract piece of Scully's at The National Gallery exhibition, Living with Art: from Picasso to Celmins. The accompanying didactic specifically said that Scully had worked figuratively before becoming reknowned for his totally non-objective large paintings. Both my husband and I looked at each other doubtfully - neither of us had ever seen any figurative work by Sean Scully. Then we walked across the hall to be met by these huge, vibrant figurative Scully works! I absolutely love them!

The huge paintings were done on aluminum and this picture gives an idea of their size! 

All the work in the exhibition focusses on Scully's 8 year old son playing in the sand with bucket and spade. The secondary figure that appears in many works is most likely the child's mother. This simple idyll has a multitude of variations where drawing as well as painting has a role to play in the final composition.

There was a large framed display of research photographs in the first part of the exhibition and in the second part small works were displayed, probably part of Scully's colour decision process.

The smallest works, at the end of the exhibition, were all black and white sketch drawings. Possibly these drawings were created from the photos, but they had the exuberance and immediacy of in situ sketches. Though Scully is a reknowned master of contemporary non-objective painting, this vibrant exhibition spoke directly to my sensibilities and I hope to see more work like this from him in the future.

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