previews

Washington, DC

Sean Scully

The Phillips Collection
1600 21st Street NW
October 22 - January 8

Curated by Stephen Bennett Philipps

To some, Dublin-born Sean Scully is a profoundly joyful painter who, in spite of an obsession with cinder-block compositions and really big paintbrushes, almost manages to pull off greatness. To others, Scully is a rigorous abstractionist who, in spite of a persistent atmospheric romanticism in his work, almost manages to pull off greatness. While this show of the artist’s “Wall of Light” series (1998–2005) would seem to bode in favor of the latter, it’s still probably six to five, pick ’em. The odds of Scully eluding that nagging almost are a little longer. Some sixty watercolors, oils, pastels, and aquatints should go a long way in deciding the matter.

Travels to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Feb. 11–May 28, 2006; Cincinnati Art Museum, June 24–Sept. 3, 2006; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Sept. 25, 2006–Jan. 14, 2007.