I knew of Scully's interest of Spanish painting but never felt it as... much as when I saw his 'Wall of Light Horizon' with the earth tones over the red bole primer, so evident in Spanish Colonial painting from the Baroque period.

Six months after seeing Scully's painting at the De Young, I revisited Goya's 'Portrait of the Marquesa de Santiago' at the Getty and instantly thought of the Scully - the saturations and values of the colours and the use of the warm light from the red bole primer penetrating through the top layer of heavy earth tone colours. His title, an oxymoron, also lends itself to the painters constant battle with illusion, allusion and space in and on a painting - the horizon of course being an example of a concept that exists in our minds, you can't ever reach a horizon as it shifts constantly in relation to where you are positioned in space; as apposed to a 'wall of light' which talks of the picture plane, but with something behind it emanating a light. These ernest questions in Scully's work about the history of painting played out as abstract paintings interest me so much that, for me, they hold a strong force of energy and knowledge that makes me want to keep looking at them.

Left: Sean Scully, 'Wall of Light Horizon', oil on linen, 2005, deYoung Museum, San Francisco; middle: detail of 'Wall of Light Horizon'; Right: Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, 'Portrait of the Marquesa de Santiago', 1804, oil on canvas, Collection of the Getty, LA.

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