Sean Scully at LA Louver, Los Angeles

In the tradition of numerous art-historical masters, Scully takes inspiration from his time in Morocco

A visit to Morocco has proved a turning point for many European artists, including Matisse and, more recently, a painter who has been profoundly influenced by him: Sean Scully. Irish-born Scully travelled to Morocco in 1969, and found himself, like Matisse, bewitched by the lines and patterns of carpets, tents and Islamic architecture. His signature canvases since the early 80s have been based on grids of thickly painted, harmoniously coloured, broad vertical and horizontal stripes. If the means sound somewhat pared back and minimal, it is fair to say that Scully has achieved a remarkable degree of emotional and aesthetic variation within this mode, thanks largely to his marvellously sensitive use of colour and his tactile, sensual treatment of layered, translucent paints (below, his “Small sea mirror”, 2002). The exhibition at LA Louver (until 30 November) is the first Scully showing on the West Coast of America in 12 years, and it features nine new paintings, including “Four dark mirrors”, 2001-2002, a monumental work on four related canvases, as well as watercolours, photographs and a single pastel.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 130 November 2002