1967 Born 3 June, Scotland
1998 Glasgow School of Art, BA Hons – Painting
Beaux Arts, Bath, Solo Exhibition
London Art Fair, Islington, Beaux Arts
2005 – 2007
Beaux Arts, Bath
London Art Fair, Islington, Beaux Arts
Art London, Chelsea, Beaux Arts
Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts, Glasgow
Everard-Read, Cape Town
2000 – 2006
Flying Colours Gallery, London
2003 – 2005
Gallery Heinzel, Aberdeen
2000 – 2005
Fine Art & Antiques Fair, Olympia, London
Mansfield Park Gallery, Glasgow
Royal Glasgow Institute for Fine Arts Annual Exhibition
Royal Academy of Arts, Summer Exhibition, London
Joao Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town
Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
Histories of the Present, University of the Witwatersrand
Carfax Gallery, Johannesburg
Shopping Trolley Project, Primart Gallery, Cape Town
1994 – 1996
Natal Society of Arts, Durban
Exhibition with Peet Pienaar, University of Pretoria
Devilliers Gallery, Johannesburg
Newtoen Artspace, Johannesburg
Johannesburg Biennale Fringe
Cunning Stunts, Newtown Artspace, Johannesburg
1991 James Torrance Memorial Award (RGI, Glasgow)
2005 Short Listed for Garrick-Milne Prize
The art of Anthony Scullion concentrates upon the body, seen equally as flesh and soul. He invests these bodies with forms and colours that further the tradition of the masters in art. Without any plagiarism of them, Scullion resonates at once the chiaroscuro of Rembrandt, the spirituality of Giacometti, and the distortion of Bacon.
Previous Catalogue Text
Pensive, caught in mid-thought, immersed in the ebb and flow of everyday existence, Tony Scullion’s protagonists and the empty spaces they inhabit are far removed from the shock and awe of the more conspicuous art of our modern times. In essence his work, consisting entirely of portraits and figures in space presents us with simple yet fundamental dilemmas inspired by the experience of our own mortality.
Whilst the figures look either towards us, or within our sphere of vision, neither their mien nor their environs offer a clue as to the reason for their presence. We are apparently being gently provoked to respond. With their plain clothing they appear dated, or even timeless, and could perhaps be characters from Samuel Beckett’s trilogy, or equally James Kelman’s modern day Glasgow.
The charcoal and ink drawings (Head study, Years Ago) and the strong angular lines of the painted figures are reminiscent of Giacometti, who himself shunned the trend among his peers towards surrealism, and persisted with his pared-down, heavily reworked, isolated figures. Warm reds draw the figures out of the often more earthen-hued backgrounds, in a dramatic manner rich in emotional sensitivity that calls to mind the chiaroscuro self-portraits of Rembrandt.
The clarity of the emerging figures, and the looser, more spontaneous stirred up sea of colour they emerge from, imbue the The Visit, or The Good Samaritan with a certain poignancy. There is a moving sense of lostness, wholly reminiscent of the circular philosophical musings of Vladimir or Estrogan in Waiting for Godot. The painting titles do not bring these quiet vignettes toward resolution, but simply throw up more paradoxes- the Accidental Angel is not obviously angelic, though as with the figure in the Anonymous portraits, he possesses a kind of urban nobility, accentuated in Anonymous II by the upward perspective, and the use of a circular, ‘commemorative’ format. The Free Spirit has a barrier blocking his progress. Alternatively the designations demand more questions, as in Journey’s End (what journey?) or The Visit (who is visiting who?).
Anthony Scullion has produced a body of work which, with a careful balance of calculation and liberated painting breathes life into characters who, just as with Beckett’s plays, are for most of us, most of the time, beyond prose or thought and therefore pretence. Instead of the frailty and hard edges being forbidding, the artist succeeds in drawing us in towards the heart of the matter. We recognise something of our own lives and of the world around us in the gestures, the demeanour, the contemplative place depicted. It is in the warm human glow of this recognition that the rare and affecting essence of this work is located.
Aidan Quinn, 2007