is a fervent Miles Davis fan. Before being seduced into the
life of a painter by a visit to the Tate—in particular, by encounters with
works on view there by Mark Rothko and Bridget Riley—Scully owned a blues club
and played in a band in 1960s London. By the 1970s, art making filled his days,
but music, especially jazz, remained a strong influence. Scully’s show of new
paintings at Timothy Taylor Gallery
invokes these origins through the artist’s
cool, impassioned approach to folding rhythm and vibration into abstract
“Kind of Red
,” the show’s title, is a playful turn on Davis’ classic
record Kind of Blue
, which dropped in 1959. Scully listened to the album
nonstop while making the monumental five-panel installation that is the
centerpiece of the exhibition. Inspired by Davis’ expansive, experimental
approach to jazz, Scully set to drawing out the visual and tonal potential of
his signature color block abstractions.
previous works, like his seminal “Wall of Light” series, explore the capability
of abstract painting to communicate the powerful vagaries of light, color, and
texture. In these allover compositions, Scully builds his canvases with
“bricks” of color that allude to the permanence of both architectural and art
historical masterpieces, such as Stonehenge or paintings by Rothko. There is
also a foil to this permanence in the form of the ephemeral—manifest in the
separations between the bricks, which suggest a mysterious, glowing space
of Red,” Scully expands on the sense of movement and fugacity in his paintings.
Here, orbs of color float in the space of the backdrop and individual bricks
bump up against each other, ultimately seeming to stick together magnetically.
Alternating skeins of blacks, greys, and reds inject a sense of pulsating
energy that accrues across five juxtaposed paintings. Working on aluminum
instead of canvas—an unconventional substrate that acts like tine—Scully once
again invokes music, as the sounds of his brush against metal infuse the work
with a kinetic, painterly cadence.