Compare Scully’s Red and Red to Mark Rothko’s Ochre and Red on Red. How would you describe the difference between the two shades of red in each work of art? How are the two paintings similar? How are they different?
Sean Scully paints in an abstract style, but is not considered an abstract expressionist. Compare Red and Red to abstract expressionist works featured on this website. How is Scully’s painting different and similar to abstract expressionist paintings?
The black and white bars, or stripes, might resemble the keys of a piano. Listen to a piece of music played with only six keys. Discuss whether you think a simple piece of music might be a good metaphor for this painting.
Imagine that each of the colors is an instrument in a band. What kinds of sounds would each color suggest? Write about the music that each might play. What would you name this band’s song or album?
Scully was born in Ireland, but came to the United States on fellowships, first to Harvard, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and then to New York. He then taught at Princeton University, in New Jersey. Find these locations on a map. Find out about these cities: how are they different? When were they founded? Describe their populations and their major points of interest.
How would Scully have traveled between Ireland and the United States in the 1970s? What route would he have taken between Dublin and Boston? London and New York? What might have been his transportation options? Would they be the same today?
Red and Red is entirely composed of lines and rectangles. Divide the number of each set of colored rectangles as a percentage of the total number. What are the percentages?