What I’m trying to do is something about modern life … I want to express that we live in a world with repetitive rhythms and that things are existing side by side that seem incongruous or difficult. Yet, out of that, is our truth. It expresses where we are. I think the beauty that we have now has more to do with the relationships that we make, than it has to do with the way we make things, because we’re not living in an age of crafts. When we lived in an age of crafts it had much more to do with the way that single objects were made. But now it seems to me that we make things in a different way. It’s the relationship between things that expresses our truth, expresses some kind of spirituality that we have, or the possibility of this. And it’s the way that these modern relationships are reflected in the paintings that makes me, I think, into a kind of realist. So they are in a way kind of realism, but it’s a romantic realism.
Sean Scully, interview with Hans-Michael Herzog, ‘The beauty of the real’,
Sean Scully (exhibition catalogue), Milan: Charta, 1996, pp. 55–131 (p. 103).