Work

The 2003 Fleur de Lys panels

2003

Several panels depicting Brian's exploration of the heraldic fleur de lys. 'Between Extremities' has the stylised lily executed in stained glass and lead on a ground of collaged newspaper articles, coverage from the litigation which Brian (as sole executor of Francis Bacon’s estate) brought against Bacon’s former gallery, screenprinted on and fired into glass. Together with the 'Francis Bacon Triptychs' of the same year, this work memorialises his and John Edwards' involvement in the Bacon trial. The other panels of the same year include a series of drawings in lead of Zaha Hadid, Jan Kaplický, Oscar Niemeyer and Norman Foster, an update of the traditional grisaille, and 'Fleur de Lys in Five Parts'.

Moving with frequency between the polarities of my experience is a fertile source of ideas. Somewhere between anguish and joy lies a region taut with further contradictions. If art speaks truth to power then in my view both compelling forces need to be addressed. The desolate truth carried in profundity is made even more striking when matched by the sublime energy of the decorative.” – Brian Clarke, in the Vitromusée Romont catalogue of his exhibition ‘Life and Death’ (2010). This piece takes its title (as do many of Brian’s works) from the poem ‘Vacillation’ by W. B. Yeats, which starts: "Between extremities Man runs his course".