New York

Sean Scully

Galerie Lelong/Danese

Sean Scully’s concurrent shows proved that abstraction is not dead. The work on view was neither reprise nor parody but the carrying forward of those abstract staples of modernism—geometry and gesture—to new aesthetic heights. At Galerie Lelong, the artist presented two contrasting series (all works 1998), the four large canvases that make up his “Walls of Light,” along with 40 examples of his unusual “Floating Paintings,” which project from the wall perpendicularly rather than resting flat against it. At Danese, Scully exhibited five medium-size paintings displaying formal similarities to the “Wall of Light” series. These works at once epitomize the essentials of abstraction and give them what one might call, both literally and figuratively, new depth. If, as the Parisian philosopher Eugène Minkowski eloquently stated, “the dimension in depth never allows us to know ourselves totally,”

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