new-york

Sean Scully

Mary Boone Gallery | Chelsea

Without the boxiness of his previous work, Sean Scully’s new paintings are certainly less physically overbearing. Each large canvas contains a smaller, inset one that evokes projections collapsed back onto their supports—as though Scully wanted you to remain aware enough of their former invasiveness to give the paintings credit for holding back. With the single exception of a work appropriately titled Red Way, 1992, Scully’s palette here is an unusually extended range of grays; two diptychs (Calling, 1992, and As Was, 1993) include steel elements that fit right into the tonal schema which is reminiscent of Jasper Johns.

Johns’ influence stands out all the more strongly given the comparative temperateness of Scully’s new paintings. Still, there’s a literalist’s Johns, a Pop Johns, a painterly Johns, and so on; the one who leads to Robert Morris or Bruce Nauman is a very different artist from

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