Stained glass screens
2015 – 2019
Each of these folding screens – 12 panels of stained glass in a lacquered wood frame – represents the very front end of technical virtuosity in glass, taking the medium out of church windows, out of the monumental corporate applications that Clarke pioneered, and into a new place in architecture: the home, the museum, and the gallery. These movable works of art instantly create a mood that responds to the time and season, caressing the interior of a room with coloured light: intimate walls of glass that have a changing presence by day and night. Drawing inspiration from ‘the botanical, cosmological and biographical’, and both beautiful and functional, each screen is produced by HENI in an edition of 10, plus 3 artist’s proofs.
Begun in 2015, these works – which Brian has described as “the expression of ideas that started forming in my mind in the 80s, possessing a celluloid quality, a cinematic drama which, until now, we haven’t had the technology to express” – have been produced using advances developed with and for them, dispensing with the dividing lead support that has been a necessary component of stained glass through most of its existence. Merging the traditional techniques of glassblowing with his decades of exploration through the medium, they are Clarke’s major independent work of the past four years. First exhibited in 2018 at Norman Foster's Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in the show The Art of Light, in 2020 they are on view at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York