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Brian Clarke

Brian Clarke

Over the last five decades, Brian Clarke has produced radical works that engage with multiple media – including painting, collage, stained glass, ceramic, sculpture, leadwork, mosaic, tapestry and furniture. Widely considered the most important artist working in stained glass today, he has revolutionised the medium, pushing the boundaries of what it can achieve.

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Brian Clarke
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Brian Clarke Stained Glass Unveiled in London Coroner's Court

Brian Clarke Stained Glass Unveiled in London Coroner's Court

Wallpaper · 03 Jul, 2024 @ 15:16

Brian Clarke's stained glass animate the new spaces in Westminster's Coroner's Court, bringing in floral and loosely natural themes from the nearby garden.

HENI NEWS

Brian Clarke work sells for 25% Above Estimate at Auction

Brian Clarke work sells for 25% Above Estimate at Auction

HENI News · 25 Apr, 2024 @ 03:46

Brian Clarke, THE PLUMB WINDOW I (1974), sold for $47,100, more than the low estimate at Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh. Mouth-Blow English, French Antique And Belgian Opal Glass With Mirrors, Cut And Leaded, 210.0 x 243.0cm. The work has not been traded before.

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About the Artist

Over the last five decades, Brian Clarke has produced radical works that engage with multiple media – including painting, collage, stained glass, ceramic, sculpture, leadwork, mosaic, tapestry and furniture. Widely considered the most important artist working in stained glass today, he has revolutionised the medium, pushing the boundaries of what it can achieve.

Born in 1953 into a working-class family in Oldham, UK, Clarke immersed himself in art from the age of 12, receiving a scholarship to the Oldham School of Arts and Crafts, and later enrolling into the North Devon College of Art and Design. An avid student of design, pictorial composition, drawing, printing and heraldry, he received his first stained glass window commission for a residential home before he was 20. At the same time, he was producing oil paintings, drawings and collages that document the breadth of his artistic interests.

A notable milestone was the 1978 exhibition GLASS/LIGHT, co-curated with stained glass artist John Piper and art historian Martin Harrison, the most extensive exhibition to date of stained glass of the 20th century. In the same period, he created a significant series of paintings, Dangerous Visions, in which the canvas is slashed, evoking a painful bodily wound clumsily stitched back together.

By the 1980s, Clarke began receiving commissions for large scale public projects such as the Royal Mosque of King Khalid International Airport (1982), Stansted Airport in London (1988), the Neue Synagogue in Darmstadt (1988), Al Faisaliyah Centre in Riyadh (1997-2000) and Pfizer World Headquarters in New York (1997-2001). For each of these monumental projects, Clarke drew from the surrounding architectures and cultures to develop a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, a total work of art which could harmoniously weave discrete artistic elements into a synergy of spiritual vision.

In his smaller scale projects, Clarke adapts his practice to make equally powerful statements. In 2008, he presented a striking series of leadworks at the exhibition Don't Forget the Lamb at Phillips de Pury, New York. In these works, lead becomes the dominant element, with textured inscriptions evoking the artist’s drawing hand and coloured accents made in stained glass.

Clarke's ongoing series of freestanding stained glass screens, produced with HENI, are some of the clearest expressions of his challenge to the traditional expectations of stained glass. These autonomous screens are awarded the full status of a single artwork, interacting with their architectural environment but not dependent on it.

With his recent series of lyrical mixed media works Vespers (2019-20) and the Collages edition of prints, released in 2023, Clarke continues to demonstrate his commitment to a radically diverse art. Merging tradition and innovation, rejecting conventions and uncovering new potentials, Clarke considers light his primary medium. Through this approach he produces art that is able to freely interrogate transparency, opacity, light, darkness, absence, presence, order and chaos.

By continuing to push boundaries of genres and mediums through his innovative engagement with technologies and poetic concerns, Clarke’s work seems to possess a unique depth, which affects viewers in unique ways, going beyond vision into the realm of the invisible.

Brian Clarke
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