and per se and: Part XXI - Sean Scully & Liliane Tomasko

31 January - 10 February 2018

and per se and is a rolling sequence of exhibitions where one work is paired with another for two weekly periods, across a stretch of 12 months. This phase of the exhibition sees Sean’s Scully’s painting Blue Blue joined by Liliane Tomasko’s Over the course of the past year our reasons for bringing two works together have been very varied and triggered by all manner of curatorial prompts, or by following threads that make sense to us, if perhaps to us alone. In this latest incarnation however the connection between Scully and Tomasko is a very direct one, as the pair have been married since 2007. The sharing of a studio building in upstate New York, not to mention the sharing of their lives, provides an obvious link between the two artists but it is not the only thing that allows their paintings to live together in such close accord. At a glance these paintings might seem unalike; Blue Blue is a large, solemn painting built in tonal blocks of blue and grey with a suggestion of red inching through the cracks where the colours meet. It is a classic work by Scully in this regard in which the deliberately tough stance of American abstraction is tempered by the potential of fragility and intimacy offered by a more European tradition., on the other hand presents an exuberant collision of reds, yellows, pinks and greens draped over a looping black line, and yet it shares with Blue Blue a quality of unexpected restraint - despite its explicit vibrancy something of its energy is contained and withheld. Like Scully, Tomasko (who grew up in Switzerland with Hungarian parents) channels a European sensibility into her work: with a touch of Vuillard balancing out the more obvious inheritance of De Kooning, and the result is a painting that is simultaneously seductive and deliberately awkward. Scully has described Tomasko as “the painter of the lost and the left. The painter of memories” and like his own unmistakable language of abstraction, hers is as an art that combines powerful, physical presence with a kind of emotional possibility.