The other thing I think about a lot when I paint, is the brutality of reality. The fact that we are physical. And my paintings begin with that premise or they obey the human condition that we’re physical — we’re physical, but we don’t want to be. We want to be spiritual. Or we want to be both. Or any combination thereof … So, in my paintings I tried to make them both. And the fact that they’re painted with thick paint is acknowledging the fact that they’re made with stuff. And the materiality has a lot to do with this idea of skin.
Sean Scully, interview with Hans-Michael Herzog, ‘The beauty of the real’,
Sean Scully (exhibition catalogue), Milan: Charta, 1996, pp. 55–131 (p. 79).