Sotto Voce (Soft Voice), 1988

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Painter and printmaker Sean Scully began his career in the 1960s as a proponent of Minimalism, producing a body of work that consisted of highly simplified linear and hard-edged geometric abstractions. In the 1980s, he turned away from this approach, having grown dissatisfied with the emotional detachment and cool objectivity of Minimalist ideology. Building on the spare geometric vocabulary of his earlier work, Scully then began to manipulate color, tone, texture, and the layering of forms to infuse his abstractions with a rich materiality and evocative emotional tenor.

"Sotto Voce" exemplifies Scully's skills and temperment as a printmaker. Here, he exploits the subtleties of various tonal intaglio (etching) processes to achieve a strongly geometric composition that is at once abstract and tantalizingly hints at representation. The print's title may be translated from the Latin as "in a quiet voice."

Sotto Voce (Soft Voice)
Artist Life
American (born Ireland), 1945
Accession Number
Crown Point Press, San Francisco (Publisher); Private dealer, St. Louis; Gottheiner Contemporary Art, St. Louis (2007); sold to MIA, 2008.
Catalogue Raisonne
Oberhuber, Tonneau-Ryckelynck & Fehlemann.88001
Curator Approved

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