The Odd Couple: William Turner and Sean Scully Meet at the National Gallery

The Odd Couple: William Turner and Sean Scully Meet at the National Gallery
#Exhibitions

Evening descends on a beach, enwrapping the heavens, the sea and the earth. A boy lingers with a dog on a strip of brown sand, stretching out towards calm waters. A clear sky becomes suddenly menacing over the horizon, as, to the right, a mass of clouds seem aflame in the midst of a storm. This is the scene painted by William Turner in the famed work Evening Star (1830). This is the point of departure for the adventure at the National Gallery of contemporary artist Sean Scully, twice nominated for the Turner Prize and present in the collections of the most important English museums. Fascinated by the “tiny rectangles” that Turner seemed to “have cut out of the sea and the sky”, Scully transforms them into a vibrant abstract painting, with strips and blocks of colour that evoke landscapes, buildings, fields and horizons. In the museum of Trafalgar Square, the large oil painted panels, the prints and pastels of Scully finally meet the masterpieces of Turner, considered by many to be the first approach towards abstraction. “When we asked Sean Scully to create an exhibition for the National Gallery, he immediately answered that he wanted to pay homage to Turner,” say the museum’s director Gabriele Finaldi: “It’s no surprise - the audacious experiments of Turner with colour, light and the landscape opened up a fundamental space for abstract painting.” While, on one hand, the romantic painter continues to influence contemporary talents, on the other, explains curator Colin Wiggins, “Scully allows us to appreciate the abstract hidden in the works of the great artists of the past, such as Turner.”
Francesca Grego - © 2019 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel London