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Painter asks people to probe his mind

By Lin Qi | China Daily | Updated: 2016-04-12 08:03

Scully's art shows his character-saying no to rules that will hold him back from pushing painting forward.

After he moved to the US in the '70s, Scully took up what he would call "a formal academic kind" of abstract painting.

But soon he found that abstract painting had lost its connection with life and become something decoratively perfect for the entrance to grand hotels.

So he decided to reconnect with the kind of painting he was interested in, which contained a rhythm of the technological and urban world people were making together, and to make art that is absolutely coming from life.

"My persistence comes from my love for the world and my belief in art, but not from disciplines," he says.

A painting at the exhibition that he likes very much is called Falling Wrong. He says Falling Wrong, in artistic terms, is significantly more interesting than falling right.

"I'm an emotional person, but I have a very hard, tenacious intellect.

"I sometimes like to think of painting as a sleeping beauty. If you want to wake her up, you have to kiss her very well-that is how I see it (painting)."

Some of Scully's personal objects, including boxing gloves and karate black belts are juxtaposed with his paintings, giving a glimpse of his personal side.

Describing Scully, Philip Dodd, one of the exhibition's curators and chairman of Made in China, a London-based company that promotes arts and culture, says: "Although most call Sean an abstract artist, in a way I don't think he is."

Dodd, who has visited China several times in the past 14 years, curated Scully's first large-scale retrospective exhibition in the country last year, Follow the Heart, at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and the Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

He says people should see Scully's paintings as a stage, and the grids, the blocks and the stripes as performers.

"Sometimes they argue with one another, at other times they tenderly hug each other or they shout at each other. They are very human paintings that Sean is making."

Scully has resisted the "orthodoxies" of his time, says Dodd.

"You will see his earlier paintings destroyed by his next series of paintings."

If you go

9 am-5 pm, closed on Mondays, through May 8.

Art Museum of Nanjing University of the Arts, 15 Huju Bei Lu, Gulou district, Nanjing, Jiangsu province.

025-8349-8761.

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