Past Exhibition – Brian Clarke : A Great Light

09 Jun 2023 – 07 Jan 2024


An exhibition of works by Brian Clarke, who is widely regarded to be the most important artist working in stained glass today, has been extended at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery until 07 January 2024. A Great Light, presented by HENI, 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 the 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 with architects Norman Foster and Partners on their Al Faisaliah Centre, Riyadh.

Across his five decades long career, Clarke has consistently pushed the boundaries of stained glass as a medium, both in terms of technology and its visual potential.  Clarke’s vision for stained glass is fundamentally architectural, his impactful works the result of a dedicated respect for the buildings and surrounding contexts of his work. His reputation both as a painter and as an architectonic artist is based on major installation projects all over the world, as well as smaller scale, autonomous works and international exhibitions of paintings and drawings.

Image: Glass detail from Ardath, 2023 Courtesy Brian Clarke Studio

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