DETAIL : Sean SCULLY Ireland 1945  Robe figure, 2003 2003 Painting oil on canvas

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Room 4: Movement and light

Grey white floating painting  and Mooseurach floating painting  2001–03
Scully’s Floating Paintings project out from the wall. They thus demand that the viewer move around the works in order to engage with them.As we move around the Floating Paintings, they are animated in real space. The experience of these works is relative to the particular time and space of the viewer.As the artist has asserted: ‘With the Floating Paintings, the relationship [between the flatness of the painting and the space of the gallery] is consistently being made and altered by the way that one moves around. In that sense it’s more like a piece of sculpture, and its relationship to the space in the room is a lot more physically literal. It changes its shape according to the angle that you are standing at and it moves around in space, consistently mirroring your own actions. The narrative that’s being expressed is one that tends to be animated by the viewer physically.’

Wall of lightdesert day  2003
Wall of lightdesert day provides a distillation of the central concerns of Scully’s project in a number of crucial ways. The painting’s ambiguity is announced in the title’s juxtaposition of the terms ‘wall’, with its suggestion of mass, architecture and containment, and ‘light’, with its introduction of notions of the ephemeral, the intangible and the abstract. While the title of Wall of lightdesert day suggests a relationship to the real world (a desert in the American West visited by the artist in 1998), it is self-contained and, in its play on oppositions of weight and lightness, light and darkness, denies any particular narrative. The painting makes itself available as a space of contemplation to the viewer. We are all potentially incorporated in its spiritual field.

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