In a city where stress is a factor of everyday life, Sean Scully’s exhibit Horizon offers you a reason to slow down. Ironically yet conveniently, the exhibit takes place in the Timothy Taylor gallery in central London, which allows for spontaneous visits by the busy Londoner.

You’re greeted by the first example of Scully’s Landline Series, Landline Red Veined (2016) - a striped large-scale painting featuring rich nuances of red and blues that blend together into secondary purples. As suggested by the title, the inspiration behind the paintings comes from the Dublin-born artist’s relationship with landscapes and nature, specifically horizons.

Set in a white space, Scully’s landlines feature horizontal blocks of colours stacked upon one another. Although each painting presents its own unique colour story that could easily have inspired a Sonia Rykiel sweater, the paintings offer more than just a careful selection of perfectly combined nuances. Take a closer look and you will find a variety of textures achieved by long brushstrokes. It is here that you will find the need to slow down and observe, because although they are excessive and large, they show no evidence of any rapid or aggressive movements. 

However, the paintings are only the first part of the exhibition. Walk past them and into a separate room and you will find twenty-six handwritten notes from Scully’s archive that act as an insight to the creation of his larger scale works. Unlike the paintings, the notes are closely aligned to one another and recite Scully’s opinions on various topics including America’s gun violence and the influence of Joan Miró and Alexander Calder. It is interesting how notes that may have been scribbled down in a rush force the viewer to concentrate, not only to decipher his handwriting but to understand the series of paintings displayed.

Sean Scully: Horizon is on at Timothy Taylor, 15 Carlos Place W1K 2EX until December 17. #ttscully

Text by Ann-Marie Voina