I wanted to be active rather than passive. And I find perfection in pure symmetry very passive and pacifying. I just don’t think it’s of much use; it’s never been of much use to me. It’s like something that you appreciate. I don’t want to make a painting that somebody just appreciates. I want to make a painting that really somehow empowers the person looking at the painting. It can be through provocation. It can be through the possibility of failure. I think in my paintings there’s a possibility of failure in a lot of them, which I find interesting.
Sean Scully, interview with Ned Rifkin, in Ned Rifkin (ed.), Sean Scully: Twenty years 1976–1995, London: Thames & Hudson, 1995, pp. 57–80 (p. 73).