Sean Scully Returns To Newcastle And Liverpool For Major Retrospective Exhibitions

Sean Scully

The international abstract  painter Sean Scully will be exhibited across the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, and the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University from 10 February – 28 May 2018. This retrospective exhibition, sees the master of post-minimalist abstraction, revisit two seminal sites in his career: Newcastle and Liverpool.

“Newcastle is a wonderful town with a great history” – Sean Scully

Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1945, Scully moved to Newcastle upon Tyne in 1968 to study Fine Art at Newcastle University. During this time, he began to develop his iconic style of technically flawless paintings, consisting of a complicated grid system of intersecting bands and lines. Following his studies in Newcastle, Scully was awarded the runner-up prize in the John Moore’s Painting Prize in Liverpool in 1972 and 1974.

Sean Scully: 1970 will, for the first time, present a major exhibition of Scully’s early works. Collectively, they demonstrate remarkable confidence at this earliest stage of his career and reveal the genesis of his continued fascination with stripes and the spaces in between.

The exhibition is presented across the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, and the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University, where Scully studied in its Fine Art department from 1968-71. In addition to his paintings, the exhibition will present a large selection of Scully’s sketches from 1967-1969, which still provide the artist with inspiration to this day.

Now in his seventies, Scully lives and works in New York, USA, and Bavaria, Germany. He has been twice shortlisted for the Turner Prize and his work is in the collection of virtually every major museum around the world.

To mark the opening of the exhibition, Newcastle University and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums are to host a public talk by Sean Scully on Friday 9 February (3pm-4pm). Tickets are free but places should be reserved in advance. Guests are advised to book online at

Sean Scully: 1970 is on display at the Laing Art Gallery and the Hatton Gallery from 10 February – 28 May, before touring to the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the John Moore’s Painting Prize.

Sean Scully, artist, said: “Newcastle is a wonderful town with a great history. Half my family lived in Durham, as they were coal miners. So while I was at Newcastle University, I was emotionally connected. And the Fine Art Department is maybe the best in England. So in a way, I’m bringing everything back home. Closing a perfect circle, and showing my thanks and appreciation, for what I was given.”

Julie Milne, Chief Curator of Galleries at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “We are delighted to host an exhibition of works by Sean Scully, one of the most significant and prolific artists working today. Scully has a strong connection with the city having studied at Newcastle University in the seventies and this exhibition provides an opportunity for visitors to see how Scully was influenced by Newcastle’s architectural landscape. Simultaneously on display at the Laing and Hatton Gallery, this is a welcome return of Scully’s vibrant and compelling paintings to the North East.”

Professor Eric Cross, Dean of Cultural Affairs at Newcastle University, said: “We are thrilled to host an exhibition by one of the world’s greatest artists at the place where it all began, Newcastle University. Sean developed and honed his signature style while he was studying Fine Art here and it will be fascinating to see his early works and sketches – many of which were made while he was student here.”

Scully lives and works in New York, USA, and Bavaria, Germany. He has been twice shortlisted for the Turner Prize and his work is in the collection of virtually every major museum around the world. In 2014, he became the only Western artist to have had a career-length retrospective exhibition in China (Follow the Heart: The Art of Sean Scully 1964 – 2014 included over 100 paintings and traveled from Shanghai to Beijing). It was an unprecedented success, selected as the Exhibition of the Year by the Beijing News and the Global Times referred to it as ‘a Sean Scully hurricane…blowing through China’. This led to a second wave of exhibitions across major museums and cities in China through 2016-17, and Scully was presented with the International Artist of the Year Award for his outstanding contribution to contemporary art.

In 2018, Scully has major solo exhibitions around the world, including the Multimedia Art Museum of Moscow, the State Museum of St Petersburg, Russia, the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Germany, the De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art in Tilburg, Netherlands, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, USA, among others.

Sean Scully is represented by the Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, Ireland; Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland; Kewenig Galerie, Berlin, Germany; Blain|Southern London, London, UK and Cheim & Read, New York, USA.

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Sean Scully: 1970, at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery from14 July to 14 October 2018. Sean Scully:1970 opens to coincide with the Liverpool Biennial and the John Moores Painting Prize, in which Scully was a prize winner in 1972 and 1974.

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