P11202 Santa Barbara 3 1987
Monotype 1110 × 830 (43 3/4 × 32 3/4) on wove paper 1430 × 1080 (56 1/4 × 42 1/2); printed by Garner Tullis at Garner Tullis Workshop, Santa Barbara
Inscribed ‘Sean Scully 87’ b.r. and ‘Santa Barbara 3’ bottom centre
Presented by Garner H. Tullis and Pamela Auchincloss 1988
‘Santa Barbara 3’ consists of four horizontal bands, principally black, white and black with the lowest stripe divided into three equal parts, coloured pink, green and pink. It is one of a series of thirty-nine monotypes which Scully made over a period of eleven days at the Garner Tullis Workshop. His visit to Santa Barbara lasted two weeks. He had originally intended to make forty mono-types but was too tired to reach his target, having spent the first three days recovering from illness. The title of the series is ‘The Santa Barbara Series’, P11202 being the third to be signed, although not necessarily the third to be completed.
Scully had previously made etchings and woodcuts but this series marked his first attempt to make mono-types. He stated in an interview with the compiler (2 November 1988) that this series represented the beginning of a serious commitment to print-making. He had been encouraged to make prints in earnest after seeing a number of prints by the American artist Richard Diebenkorn (1922–93) at the home of an American collector.
Like the other prints in the series, P11202 was printed from pieces of Douglas Fir timber which were painted and pressed onto paper. This wood has a hard grain and a soft heart, and is indigenous to the West Coast of America. The pieces of wood were cut initially in the proportion of three to one, that is their length was three times their width. Some were then cut to shorter lengths, but always as a proportion of the width. According to the artist, Garner Tullis suggested the use of wood, and it was he who cut the blocks to proportions which were arrived at intuitively. The use of wood blocks has given the image a grained texture which has an affinity with the combed and rubbed surface of Scully's paintings. The grain runs horizontally except in the lower left square, where it is vertical. The grain was accentuated by the use of a wire brush.
The printing was achieved as follows: the blocks were laid down like a jigsaw, inked and then paper laid on top and pressed. The paper was taken off, and then a freshly inked board was placed on top of the paper and pressed, superimposing a layer of colour. Subsequent layers of colour were then added using blocks laid down in exactly the configuration of the first printing. While the first printing was in ink, the later printings may have been in ink or oil paint.
This entry has been approved by the artist.
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996