Turner Prize nominee and Harper's Bazaar Art International Artist of the Year Sean Scully is currently the subject of a major retrospective, “Resistance and Persistence”. We had a chance to speak to the highly [rightfully] lauded painter and printmaker on the eve of his second major retrospective, this time at the University of the Arts in Nanjing.
In the early part of your career you used an intersecting line and grid system, resulting in an multilayered optical field, then you began using watercolor, and moved to freehand painting after that. What causes you to explore new techniques and mediums? What techniques and mediums are you anxious to explore next?
I moved to free-hand painting in 1980, before I began to make watercolors. I made between 1975 and 1980, minimal paintings. Then in 1980 I felt that abstract painting had to return to humanism and expressiveness: so I began to include more open color and more expressive, hand-painted edges, to give the paintings a human quality that connected them to the materials of the world, instead of hard-headed concepts.