Regina Scully interview with artist Christina Massey

Regina Scully

September 23, 2018

I first “met” Regina through Facebook. Her posts of her paintings kept popping up in my feed and grabbing my attention and I was so happy to finally meet her in person last year. Her work sits in that really lovely space between abstraction and representation where at first glance it can appear one or the other, and you’re left spending time visually navigating the space, enjoying each brushstroke for just that, in addition to how it has created this alternate world for you to get lost in. Really beautiful, I hope you enjoy learning more about her and her work as much as I have!

  • I believe I had read somewhere that at some point in your early career you had sold work on the sidewalks of NYC, is that true? What did you learn from that experience or do you have a great story to share? Do you remember your first art sale? Can you share a little about that experience?

I like to remember that experience metaphorically as an important step in saying to the Universe that I wanted my paintings to be out there and to be seen. The best part about it was meeting other artists on the street and talking and getting to know them throughout the long day. It was a lot of work. I was a temp agent 9-5, Monday through Friday, and I’d go out one day a weekend with this huge heavy wooden folding screen that I built, along with all the paintings, all wrapped in a big drop cloth and tied with string. I attached some wheels to the bottom and would roll this thing down into the subway from Brooklyn to Prince and West Broadway. Sometimes I made a sale but overall, I don’t think I made any money doing it. The best experience was when I met an art teacher from the Midwest who had been sent by her school to check out the art in NYC and report back. She’d been given a little cash to bring some small things back with her and she bought a 15 x 15-inch painting for $65. We talked for a while about how important art is in the school system, and it was pretty uplifting.

  • Did you grow up in an artistic family? What was or has been your experience with support from your family on your choice and career as an artist? 

I grew up in a mostly artistic family. My mother and sister are both writers and my other sibling, my brother, is a musician. My father is a chemist, but he’s pretty creative and loves art. I’m grateful to have grown up with support. When I was five, my parents were still starting their careers and didn’t have much money but they could see how much I loved art, so my Mom would drive me down to the YMCA on Saturday mornings for my first drawing class. I still vividly remember learning about perspective and being fascinated when my teacher drew train tracks in my sketchbook and showed me how they became smaller in the distance until they reached a point.

  • Your work can feel both effortless, speedy and in the moment as well as well thought out and planned, each brushstroke having a purpose and intention. Can you describe a little about how you typically work, do you finish in one sitting, or build over time? Piece by piece or on multiple works simultaneously?

I’ve always admired the way a great tennis player or a strong violinist, or anyone with an in and out knowledge of their craft, can make it look so easy. I want it to look effortless so that the eye can flow and feel confident in following the labyrinths within the painting. If there is an area of struggle, it would be intended as a place where one has the opportunity to reflect on the struggle, though I have not done this before. Everyone knows there is struggle beneath the appearance of ease, but the ease allows the eye to dance through the painting. The paintings take a long time and I work on a number of them at once. This allows me the choice to work on the pieces I am drawn to that day, while I can turn the other ones around and get a fresh perspective a few days later. Over a period of months, and in some cases, a year, each painting grows, evolves, and takes on more and more life and its own particular personality.

  • Your work undoubtedly has a contemporary take on landscape, how do you battle the relationship of abstract to representational in your work? Do you begin by leaning one way or the other, or does it come together organically?

I usually begin the paintings abstractly, with mark-making or washes, in all different ways, to get the surface initially activated with color and paint. In essence, things start to appear, and I bring them out and mix them with what I like and want to see. It is a process of conjuring and editing and creating transitions between the different elements. If something in the painting feels too real and starts to take on a hierarchical stance in the painting, I turn the canvas upside down and work on it this way for a while. By the time I turn it back, things have shifted enough that I have both excavated new material to work with and gotten rid of the object or face in question. I think a well-structured strong painting can be turned different ways and still work, so I also like to do this for the purpose of seeing which areas are weak and need to be looked into.

  • Your work to me has an exploratory vibe, it feels like a travelers experiences into the new, different, exciting, confusing all at once. Are you a big traveler? Does this play a role at all in your work? Or does everything come from your imagination?

I traveled in Europe when I was a child because of my father’s job. It was an impressionable time and sometimes I think I am still pulling out objects and atmospheres from those memories. As an adult, however, my trips have been to other countries to explore different plant medicines, which involve lots of inner journeys. I like to imagine myself as a big traveler, but not in the physical sense. You can travel anywhere and everywhere in the mind while sitting in one room, and painting is the perfect vehicle to record and reflect on this type of exploration.

  • I love your pallet. Your works have a vibrancy and excitement in them that feel youthful, energetic and almost urgent. What is your approach and relationship with color when you begin a new work? Is color equally important in other aspects of your life? (home, wardrobe etc?)

I love strong color. And yes, I have color in my life, but it is like with my dreams. People say to me, you must have fascinating dreams, but I don’t always remember my dreams a lot and when I do, I’m often actually doing some kind of organizational task. I suppose these parts of life unfold in my paintings and when I am painting, that is when I experience my dreams and vibrant colors.

In terms of process, as the painting progresses, color becomes more and more important and specific. I may have an inclination toward one color when starting a piece, but this is pretty arbitrary usually. In fact, the colors can look quite awkward at the beginning and as the piece evolves, the colors come into their own. About a third of the way in, I will mix a set of very specific colors and enough paint for that painting and record it all in a color journal. For one painting, there may be three different grays used for different areas and two or three different blacks, a specific red only for that piece, etc.

  • You are primarily a painter, have you always been that way? Have you ever explored other mediums or do you have any desire to grow your work in that way? Or if you could learn any new skill, what would it be? (for instance your work seems perfect for printmaking or even textiles, any interest in other mediums?)

Along with some drawing and painting, I primarily did sculpture until I was 17, (ceramics, metalsmithing, and sculptures made of wood, paper mache, wire, found objects, fabric, etc.). At RISD, I went into painting, because the idea of creating my ideas in two-dimensions, after years of seeing them 3-dimensionally, both fascinated and daunted me. While studying painting as an undergrad, I also took classes with the metalsmithing/jewelry majors. Sometimes, I would work on a large painting in the afternoon, then find myself at night bent over a one by one-inch piece of silver, filing, cutting and soldering. Each medium informed the other, and I enjoyed the difference in scale and perspective. I have always thought of painting as a three-dimensional space within the two-dimensional surface where I am building worlds the way I would with wire, paper, paint, glass, wood, fabric, etc.

  • Do you have any favorite female artists?

Lisa Sanditz, Julie Mehretu, and Genieve Figgis who are living, and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, Remedios Varo, and Hilma Af Klint who are no longer alive.

  • Do you have any current or upcoming events and shows that you'd like to share?

I’ll be going to the Hermitage Artist Retreat Residency during the first two weeks of October where I will also have a small exhibition and give a talk about my work. In December my paintings and paper pieces will be featured along with three other artists at Scope Art Fair in Miami with Octavia Art Gallery. I am also working throughout these projects on an upcoming solo exhibition in New Orleans in April/May 2019.

Read the article in full, here.


Regina Scully Awarded The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation 2017 BIENNIAL GRANT


The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2017 Biennial Grants. These unrestricted grants of $20,000 each have been awarded to 30 artists working in painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, craft, and new media (see list below). The purpose of the funds is to give artists the opportunity to produce new work and push the boundaries of their creativity. Recipients were chosen from a pool of 156 nominees proposed by national nominators—artists, critics, museum professionals, and Foundation trustees. A seven-member jury selected winners for their talent and individual artistic strength. In May 2018, the Foundation will publish a full-color catalogue documenting the work of grant recipients with images and biographies. This catalogue will also be made available on the Foundation’s website. As 2018 marks the Foundation’s centennial, plans for the celebration of this important anniversary will be forthcoming.
Established in 1918 by Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of Tiffany & Company founder Charles Louis Tiffany, the Foundation remains one of the largest single sources of unrestricted monetary grants to artists working in America today. The Foundation originally operated Laurelton Hall—Tiffany’s estate at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island—as a summer residency for its fellows and craftspeople. Since 1980, the biennial competition has distributed nearly $10,000,000 in awards to 500 artists nationwide, extending the commitment of its founder “to help young artists of our country… and to assist them in establishing themselves in the art world.”
Award winner and Foundation Trustee Kerry James Marshall summarized his experience: “Few events are more exciting and encouraging than being nominated to compete for prizes you can't apply for. It is the kind of endorsement that gets the wind at your back, and since my 1993 Tiffany grant, it's been full speed ahead. It has also been an honor to join the Tiffany board and serve with famous artists I used to only read about. I was so fortunate to be an awardee. We are so lucky there is the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation.”
In honor of the Tiffany Foundation’s position as one of the earliest artist-endowed foundations in the United States, and the first created by an artist during his or her lifetime, in November 2017 the Aspen Institute Artist-Endowed Foundation Initiative/AEFI recognized the Tiffany Foundation with its Service Salute. The Initiative’s Project Director, Christine J. Vincent, acknowledged the Foundation’s:

“... commitment to assisting artists since its establishment in 1918—a record unsurpassed in philanthropy generally, let alone among artist-endowed foundations. Since the inception of its current program in 1980, the Tiffany Foundation has been a crucial source of support for dedicated artists whose work shows significant promise of further development, providing them with the financial resources required to produce new work and hone their creative abilities. By targeting support to artists at a critical point in their evolution, the Tiffany Foundation has contributed immeasurably to this country’s artistic vitality.”

The Foundation is directed by a Board of Trustees led by Angela Westwater, President.

Nina Chanel Abney, Jersey City, NJ
Niv Acosta, Brooklyn, NY
Kathy Butterly, New York, NY
Karon Davis, Ojai, CA
Abigail DeVille, Fort Lee, NJ
Rafa Esparza, Pasadena, CA
Raque Ford, Brooklyn, NY
Juliana Huxtable, Brooklyn, NY
Kahlil Joseph, Los Angeles, CA
Titus Kaphar, New Haven, CT
Ellen Lesperance, Portland, OR
Candice Lin, Altadena, CA
Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Philadelphia, PA
Zachary Meisner, Austin, TX
Ebony G. Patterson, Lexington, KY
Beverly Penn, Austin, TX
Sondra Perry, Perth Amboy, NJ
Peter Pincus, Penfield, NY
Sean Raspet, Los Angeles, CA
Wendy Red Star, Portland, OR
Cameron Rowland, Queens, NY
Jessica Sanders, Brooklyn, NY
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, San Juan, PR
Regina Scully, New Orleans, LA
Kaneem Smith, Houston, TX
Matthew Solomon, Lake Huntington, NY
Jesse Stecklow, Los Angeles, CA
Martine Syms, Los Angeles, CA
Kazumi Tanaka, Beacon, NY
Tomas Vu-Daniel, New York, NY
Phong Bui
Co-Founder and Artistic Director, The Brooklyn Rail

Ruth Estevez
Director and Curator, Gallery at REDCAT

Alison de Lima Greene
Isabel Brown Wilson Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Chrissie Iles
Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art

Charles LeDray

Kerry James Marshall

Bruce W. Pepich
Executive Director and Curator of Collections, Racine Art Museum

REGINA SCULLY Featured in Quiet Lunch


by Akeem K. Duncan.

The true magic of art lies in its ability to interact with its audience. When you walk into C24’s latest exhibition, Mindscapes, by Regina Scully, you instantaneously feel that magic. Scully’s pieces, a multifarious ensemble performing a colorful symphony of visual jazz, “slow and fast marks” that immediately draws you in.

There is a recognizable balance of purposefully precision and improvisational whimsy in this exhibition. Scully readily admits that while she maintains a certain degree of control, she allows her paintings to take her where they may. In kind, the pieces have the same effect on her audience, whisking us away on an interpretative joyride where we mold the landscapes, proclaim the patterns, commandeer the weather and write the language. Scully states:

“The idea is for people to finish the paintings themselves… to see what they see. I don’t want to tell people what to see. The viewer sees places that I’ve never been… one person will say ‘God, this reminds me of Australia in March,’ another person may say, ‘This is Wisconsin’ or ‘this is Hawaii…'”

Despite having her own translations of what she truly thinks the pieces portray, Scully presents each piece without any titles, leaving us not a cliff note or even a shred of confirmation that we are getting the “main idea.” It almost seems a little cruel, as if Scully is sending us on some wondrous wild goose chase. Scully denies any mischievous intent by offering a simple but empowering explanation, “this is your world! I mean, it’s mine while I’m exploring [and creating] it but still…”

In theory, Scully is a builder. She first gravitated towards metalwork and jewelry and applies the same technique to painting. “After doing lots of sculpture, [I asked myself] ‘what if I create space on a two-dimensional plane?’ It gets interesting. It accesses people’s subconscious and what is inside of them,” Scully reveals. During the opening exhibition, the gallery was buzzing with varying theories and custom descriptions of each painting—even eavesdropping was an experience in itself.

Mindscapes is essentially about trust. The audience relinquishes control and allows Scully to offhandedly shepherd them through each piece. However, with the paper pieces, it is Scully who relinquishes control. “The paper is unforgiving,” admits Scully. Each stroke becomes permanent and determined. This turning of the tables is a pleasant shift that adds to the charm of this exhibition. Mindscapes is without narrative, an unassembled puzzle waiting to be pieced together.

Granted a special New Year extension, this week is the last chance to see Mindscapes. So, if you’re in the Chelsea area, be sure to stop by C24 Gallery. Tell them Quiet Lunch sent you!

Read the full article here

Regina Scully interviewed on WWNO

Anew exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art complements traditional Japanese art with the contemporary work of New Orleans painter Regina Scully.  WWNO's Eileen Fleming talks with NOMA's Lisa Rotondo-McCord and the artist herself about the unexpected connection of styles.

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Regina Scully at NOMA featured on Art Daily

In Regina Scully | Japanese Landscape: Inner Journeys, on view April 7 – October 8, 2017, paintings from throughout Scully’s career are presented with a selection of Japanese works from NOMA’s renowned permanent collection, highlighting the apparent, yet unintentional, stylistic coincidences between the American artist and 18th and 19th century Asian art. 

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Regina Scully at NOMA

Exhibition to feature Regina Scully paintings and Japanese art from NOMA

Now slated for April 2017, the exhibition will mix contemporary works by Scully and a selection of Japanese paintings dating from the 17th century through the 19th century.

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