'Thinking about the colour in my work, and its darkness I often think about how the light in my work - the light produced by this colour, which is so emphatically attached to its own body weight, its own gravity - has a tendency to fall back into the painting. The painting has to be opened up. The colour, of course, could be opened up. Red could be bright red. Yellow could be the colour of flowers. And green could be leaf green. This would make the painting more immediate, more obviously communicative, more readily available and less burdened by the issue of interior content. My painting, however, is a compression: a compression of form, edge, weight. And colour participates in this density The light in the paintings has to be opened up, pulled out. And it is exactly this difficulty that gives the work its interior life. It is an incarnation, not an explanation.' (The artist quoted in Sean Scully Resistance and Persistence: Selected Writings, New York, 2006, p. 36).
For over three decades, Sean Scully has created a wonderfully rich artistic language that fuses the traditions of european painting with the distinct character of American abstraction. The present lot, Colorwall brilliantly conveys Scullys exploration between form, colour, texture and materiality. In Colorwall, Scully's intuitive eye for colour and sensitive handling of paint bespeak a subtle and contemplative effect - harking back to the works of the colour field painters such as Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. Indeed, Scully has often cited Rothko's paintings as having a significant impact on his own artistic career. Like his forerunner, he also seeks to express something of the human condition through the surprisingly complex relationships that can exist between very simple forms and colours. The vibrant reds and deep blues here, highlighted by flashes of orange, radiate beyond the canvas with an imposing presence. In short, Colorwall is an expressive and emotional work that captures Scully's quest for the metaphorical, the philosophical and the sublime through his painterly voice.