Download PDF PHILLIPS de PURY & COMPANY ANNOUNCES BRIAN CLARKE:
WORKS ON PAPER EXHIBITION
FEATURING 100 PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN WORKS ON PAPER
FROM 1969 TO PRESENT DAY
VIEWING: FEBRUARY 28 - MARCH 27, 2011
LOCATION: Phillips de Pury & Company, Saatchi Gallery, Duke of
York’s Square, London, SW3 4SQ
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
London – Phillips de Pury & Company is pleased to announce an exhibition of
works on paper by Brian Clarke opening on February 28 at Phillips de Pury &
Company’s galleries at the Saatchi Gallery. This exhibition is Clarke’s first
comprehensive show of works on paper, with 100 works spanning 40-plus years of
the artist’s career, from 1969 to the present day.
“Brian Clarke is an artist of considerable achievement and his drawings are the
point of departure for all his work; they give a fascinating insight into his artistic
practice. I am particularly happy that we should present his first ever show of
works on paper. ” Simon de Pury, Chairman of Phillips de Pury & Company.
Clarke is recognized as an exceptional talent and highly innovative artist,
constantly exploring new ways of working with glass, colour and light, while
building on the foundations of his drawing. His line influences and informs all
works in other media, visible in his painting, sculpture, mosaics, textiles and,
lately, jewellery. His large-scale stained glass works in public places
demonstrate his close affinity with and understanding of architecture, and his
preoccupation with the core issues of space and light.
Brian Clarke is an artist who draws as he breathes: “I’ve been waiting all my life
for my line to express who I really am inside, deep down, honestly”, he says. This
exhibition, curated by Bettina von Hase, demonstrates the achievement of his
goal. In Clarke’s work, drawing is as relevant as other media. The drawings, grids
and other collages exude a distilled, authentic atmosphere, at once completely
fresh but with the patina of their own time. They divide into two broadly
chronological parts. The first is retrospective, the second recent where some
works, the rose windows on black paper, the gothic literature windows, the
spitfires, and Porsche cars drawings, were made especially for this show.
There are gaps in the chronology, as a fire destroyed a large number of works in
the late 80s, and in the 90s, Clarke focused more on tearing sections from new
drawings, using fragments of lines that excited him, in a deliberate move away
from figuration. “A dominant aspect of the works is their coherence, visible in the
continuing passionate investigation of shapes and personal symbols that the
artist is drawn to”, von Hase says.
They are sometimes held by his grids, which have a disciplined formality, only to
be subverted by spontaneous inclusions he refers to as “the quiet little whistle of
a line”. Then there is the cross, with its vertical and horizontal line echoing an
architectural structure rather than a religious symbol. The gothic windows and
spitfires are infused with a poetic and keen awareness of the passage of time.
Clarke was surprised when he reviewed the works while preparing for this
exhibition. It made him feel that he had been justified in “chasing the same
rainbow since I was 16 years old”.
Highlights from the retrospective part of the exhibition include:
Early drawings of the female form with black, collaged paper fragments, titled
Life Drawing, 1969; and portraits of friends and early life drawings of the male
nude, followed by layered newspaper collages and drawings made in the 80s in
London and New York. A series of abstract works with a distinct rhythmic touch
demonstrate an increasing preoccupation with what art historian Martin
Harrison calls Clarke’s ‘northern nervous line’.
The section of recent works includes 14 vibrantly coloured collages, closely
reminiscent of Clarke’s stained glass works, where luminous hues of colour are
visible through the grids; gold and silver caramel wrappings and multi-coloured
paint tubes on white Velin Arches paper; and two sets of 10 gothic windows
collaged with books that have a special meaning to the artist. Large Gothic rose
windows on black paper, next to caramel wrappers and paint tubes also pictured
on the front and back cover of the catalogue, sum up Clarke’s inherent belief that
there is nothing so unimportant that it might not be of potential significance to
an artist. Whether rose window, caramel or paint tube, he invests all with grace.
NOTES TO EDITORS ON BRIAN CLARKE:
Born in 1953 in Oldham, Lancashire, England, Brian Clarke lives and works in
London and Munich. Clarke’s prolific artistic practice is built upon using light to
explore the essential link between art and architecture.
Since the early 1970s, the artist has worked on over two hundred stained glass
projects in collaboration with some of the world’s most prominent architects and
artists. Some of Clarke’s most notable “art-in-architecture” projects include: the
stained glass for King Kahled International Airport, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 1982;
Victoria Quarter, Leeds, England. 1989; Lake Sagami Country Club, Tokyo,
Japan. 1989; Haus der Energie, EAM, Kassel, Germany. 1992; NorteShopping, Rio
de Janerio, Brazil. 1995; Pfizer Pharmaceutical HQ, New York, USA. 1996; Al
Faisaliah Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 2000; Pyramid of Peace, Astana,
Kazakhstan. 2006; Apax Partners HQ, London, England, 2007; Linköping
Cathedral, Linköping, Sweden. 2010.
Clarke’s stained glass works and paintings have been widely exhibited, including
at: Vitromusée (Romont, Switzerland), Tony Shafrazi Gallery (New York),
Gagosian Gallery (London), Stadt Museum München (Munich), Phillips de Pury
(New York), Faggionato Fine Arts (London), the Mayor Gallery (London),
Hessisches Landesmuseum (Darmstadt), Karsten Greve Gallerie (Köln), the
Sezon Museum of Art (Tokyo), the Centre International de Vitrail (Chartres)
Deutsches Architekturmuseum (Frankfurt), Robert Fraser Gallery (London) and
the Royal Institute of British Architects. Clarke also designed stage sets for two
of Paul McCartney’s world tours, and stage sets for the Dutch National Ballet.
Brian Clarke is a visiting Professor of Architectural Art at the Bartlett Institute of
Architecture, University College London (UCL); an Honorary Fellow of the Royal
Institute of British Architects (RIBA); Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts;
Honorary Doctorate (Hon. D. Litt.) University of Huddersfield; Chairman of The
Architecture Foundation; Sole Executor and Chairman of The Estate of Francis
Bacon; Trustee and Council Member of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust;
and Trustee of the Capital City Academy and the Lowe Educational Foundation.
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Bettina von Hase
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