Crann Saoilse (Wall of Light)

Artist Name(s) Sean Scully
Artwork title Crann Saoilse (Wall of Light)
Context/Background The University of Limerick (which obtained Gallery Status from the Irish Revenue Commissioners in 31 January 2007) has a number of art collections. The University’s Bourn Vincent Gallery has a revolving temporary exhibition schedule and is located in the Foundation Building, where the WCSI's Permanent Collection is on view. The collections include:
  • Watercolour Society of Ireland's Permanent Collection,
  • Irish American Cultural Institute's O'Malley Collection,
  • The Wood Collection of Irish 19th Century Landscape painting,
  • William and Elizabeth Bourn Vincent Gallery,
  • Armitage Collection,
  • Burke Collection,  
  • Medical Art Collection,
  • National Self Portrait Collection of Ireland,  
  • University of Limerick Art Collection,
  • Helen Hooker O'Malley Roelofs Sculpture Trust,  
The university also has an outdoor sculpture collection, with works by Irish and international artists such as Antony Gormley, Alexandra Wejchert, Peter Logan, Tom Fitzgerald, James McKenna, Louise Walsh and Ken Thompson. The Visual Arts Office is charged with the care, custody, and control of the various art collections on campus. These collections include the University's own collections, as well as long- and short-term loans of work to the University.

Crann Saoilse (2003) consists of a wall composed of black and white stone cubes, set in a chequered board pattern.

Dimensions: 30.5 meters long x 3 meters high x 2.5 meters wide

Materials: Stone cubes (76.2 x 76.2x 76.2 cm): Portuguese limestone - Moleanos - (white) and Chinese basalt (black). Piled concrete base, surrounded by a landscaped berm.

Illuminated by 44 ERCO Tessis luminaries at base.


b.1945, Dublin, Ireland. 

Sean Scully is generally considered to be one of the world’s leading abstract painters. Born in Dublin and raised in London, he now lives between New York and Germany. Appropriately, therefore, Scully’s art is thoroughly international in perspective, drawing on the diverse historical and cultural influences of places that, at different times, have been profoundly important to him. He has taken inspiration from many cherished, varied elements of European culture (ranging from the harmonic ideals of ancient Greek architecture to the vernacular design of stone walls in rural Ireland) but he has also successfully responded to — and built on — the legacy of abstraction in the United States. Scully’s commanding, internationally recognizable style of abstract art — based on repeating and steadily adapting arrangements of discretely nuanced blocks of colour — combines considerable painterly drama with great visual delicacy. It is an art of tremendous vigour: Scully is a forceful, physical artist, who creates intentionally monumental spaces. But it is also an art of acute concentration and care: his work involves an ongoing negotiation between the monumental and the intimate. Central to the success of his work, therefore, is a tension between strictly ordered, ‘objective’ zones of powerful colour and a looser, more subjective ‘edge’: each of the vital boundary lines of each defined, resonant stripe or square in a Scully painting has a distinct quality — and these variations create a plurality of painterly incident and accident within an apparently systematic arrangement. Scully’s work is noted for its impressively controlled abstract power, but at the heart of each rigorously composed work is a near-infinite number of expressive, emotional fluctuations. As he has said of abstraction more generally, this is a form of art that “was meant to embody deep emotion. I believe that’s its job, in the history of art.”

Touring solo museum exhibitions in 2012 include: ‘Change and Horizontals’, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK; ‘Grey Wolf. A Retrospective’, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland & Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Austria; ‘Luz del Sur’, Palacio Carlos V, Alhambra; ‘Doric Order’, Benaki Museum of Art, Athens & Instituto Valencia de Arte Moderno Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia (IVAM); ‘Iona & Related Paintings’, Alter Gallery, Philadelphia Musuem of Art, Philadelphia.

Among numerous solo exhibitions worldwide Scully has had major retrospective exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 1989 and a touring show initiated in 1995 at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington. In 2001 his 'Painting, Drawings Photographs 1990-2001' exhibition, travelled from the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen in Dusseldorf to the Haus Der Kunst in Munich and to Valencia. More recently in 2005 -07 Sean Scully Wall of Light, curated by Stephen Phillips was shown in The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.; The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

He is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the National Gallery, Washington, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, the Tate Gallery, London, the Louisiana, Denmark, the Reina Sofia, Madrid, and in many other private and public collections worldwide.



Commission Type Private Commission
Commissioner Name Dr. Roger Downer - President of the University of Limerick (1998-2006)
Commissioning process Invitation
Artform Visual Arts
Funded By Private
Budget Range 250000 + euro
Project commission end date 30/08/2003
Location Campus Main Entrance – University of Limerick, Plassey, Castletroy
County Limerick
Town Limerick
Content contributor(s) Web Editor
Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Visual Arts Administration University of Limerick - Yvonne Davis

Building and Civil Engineer contractors - L&M Keating Ltd., Kilmihil, Co. Clare

Project Managers - Kerin Contract Management, Grove House, Lock Quay, Limerick.

Architects - De Blacam & Meagher, 29 Raglan Road, Dublin 4.

Quantity Surveyors - Andrew P. Nugent & Associates, Rathgar, Dublin 6.

Stone producers/exporters, Portuguese limestone (Moleanos) - Dimpomar Ltd. Rochas Portuguesas LDA



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