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Sean Scully: Crate of Air

Country Park

Crate of Air (2018) was created for Inside Outside, an exhibition in 2018 of painting and sculpture by renowned Irish-born artist, Sean Scully.

Although Scully is acknowledged as one of the most important international abstract painters working today, in recent years he has also made large-scale sculpture. The artist created experimental three-dimensional work in the 1970s whilst studying on a scholarship at Harvard University, but didn’t return to this aspect of his practice for another thirty years.
Scully’s sculptures are extensions of his paintings, with lines, stripes and grids dominant throughout. Raised in an economically deprived South London household, he recalls being the darner of socks for the family, and considers that the weft and weave of this early experience informed the development of his grid-like painting and sculpture.

Made especially for YSP, Crate of Air comprises eight Corten steel sections, each constructed and welded separately. This is the latest in a series of sculptures that explore the open spaces of grids. Boxes Full of Air, the first in the series, was made in 2013 in response to a Manhattan loft, which was once a textile warehouse used by Scully as his studio throughout the 1980s. Made many years later, the sculpture echoes the geometric shapes that were revealed during the artist’s renovation of the loft space, when walls and doors had been removed and the frames of the structure exposed.
Another ambitious work by Scully is Wall Dale Cubed (2018), which can be found in Lower Park. Contrasting to the fragmented, open spaces of Crate of Air, this solid sculpture is made from 1000 tonnes of Yorkshire stone from a local quarry.