9 JUNE - 7 JANUARY 2024

A Great Light

An exhibition of works by Brian Clarke, who is widely regarded to be the most important artist working in stained glass today, is on view at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery from 9 June to 31 December 2023. Presented by HENI, ’A Great Light’ celebrates Clarke’s 70th year with an extraordinary collection of works from 2002 to the present day.

This spectacular new installation of the artist’s glass shows how flexible and wide-ranging the medium can truly be. His latest work is Ardath, a 42m² wall of mouth-blown glass, bathing the gallery in light and colour, as flowering meadow motifs build up a rich and dense tapestry in etched glass.

Another new work, Stroud Ossuary, depicts hundreds of skulls towering some 10 metres above visitors, with each graphically etched skull carefully placed on traditional lead lines. Other works are on a more intimate scale. His recent ’Kabinettscheiben’ are based upon his latest series of collages and drawings.

In earlier works by Clarke, visitors can meander through a gallery filled with vibrantly coloured folding screens, layering a multitude of patterns and colours. In contrast, large poignant leadworks create a contemplative environment, filled with reflection and mourning. Large battleships and beachboys from 2002 show Clarke’s continued experimentation with method and process. Triple layered sheets of dot-matrix glass build up the translucent and transparent image of the battleship as if in a distant haze. The same process was employed on a monumental scale in a collaboration with Norman Foster and Partners on their Al Faisaliah Centre, Riyadh.

Exhibition dates: 9 June – 31 December 2023
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Location: Newport Street Gallery, 1 Newport Street, London, SE11 6AJ
Admission: Free

Featured artworks

Ardath - undefined


Stained Glass
5,000 x 10,000 cm

The spectacular, large-scale glass artwork Ardath features a 42-square-metre wall of mouth-blown glass and is the centerpiece of Brian Clarke's exhibition ’A Great Light’. This installation, an expansive field of flowering meadow motifs in etched glass, bathes the gallery in light and colour. The exhibition presents the artist’s unmatched contribution to the continuous development of the stained glass medium.

Lead Night Orchids - undefined

Lead Night Orchids

Lead Night Orchids, 2015
Stained glass on lead
84.4 x 61.4 cm

With their sparse leading outlines and irregular glass petals, Brian Clarke’s nine ‘Lead Night Orchids’ translate the spontaneity of his ‘Night Orchid’ works on paper into lead and stained glass. Depicting an orchid in each panel, Clarke inverts the typical ratios of glass to lead, as the matte lead skeleton structure that only plays a supportive role in traditional stained glass is placed centre stage.

Collages Editions - undefined

Collages Editions

Diasec-mounted Giclée prints on aluminium composite panel
50 x 34 cm

Coinciding with the exhibition, HENI Editions, Fondation Beyeler and Serpentine released ’Collages’, a series of eight prints after some of Brian Clarke’s most acclaimed recent collages. The eight unique works in ’Collages’ are based on Clarke’s recent series of works on paper in which he turned to the intimate format of collage to capture the nature around him. Using his scissors to ‘draw from life’, Clarke’s subjects are wildflowers in a garden and elegantly arranged blooming buds. Learn More

Stroud  Ossuary - undefined

Stroud Ossuary

Stroud Ossuary, 2023
Stained glass
750 x 200 cm

Stroud Ossuary is a haunting seven-storey-tall stained glass artwork, rendering rows of skulls in multi-coloured glass, intended for a 16th-century yeoman’s house in Gloucestershire. Clarke created a shimmering surface of glass, contrasting with darkly leaded skulls and shelves. Designed to create shifting impressions with changes in lighting conditions, Stroud Ossuary speaks to the universality of mortality and the impermanence of life.

World Without End - undefined

World Without End

World Without End, 2017
Stained glass with wooden frame
204 x 252 cm

Released by HENI Editions, Brian Clarke’s folding screens of stained glass are a radical and historically significant development in the history of the medium and its technology. The intention of the ongoing series was to take stained glass out of religious, monumental and institutional sites and bring them into the museum, gallery and, ultimately, the home. On the expansive, sea-like blue background of Brian Clarke’s World Without End, a stained glass folding screen from 2017, luminescent yellow jellyfish of various sizes float. Learn more

Study for Portrait of An Optimist - undefined

Study for Portrait of An Optimist

Study for Portrait of An Optimist, 2008.
Sheet lead and stained glass
112 x 112 cm

Without precedent in the history of stained glass, the 'Don’t Forget the Lamb' series is Brian Clarke’s meditation on vanitas themes, distinguished by the predominance of lead and the absence or minimal use of translucent glass. Clarke subverts the logic that had underpinned centuries of stained glass design, presenting on its own the lead structure that historically supported and joined stained glass. In the absence of bright glass, weight and darkness pervade these compositions.

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