The 'Gridline' screens
The Gridline screens are two related, autonomous modern stained glass works designed and fabricated in 1990. Gridline I is shown here together with its first design in pencil, acrylic and collage; each square of the grid in the design was cut by Brian by hand. A portrait shows Brian supervising the assembly of the artwork at the opening of his exhibition Into and Out of Architecture at the Mayor Gallery in 1990, where both screens were first exhibited; the 9-panel Gridline I, which measures 303 x 353 cm, is now in the collection of Stadtmuseum Langen. The blue portion of Gridline I is a hugely enlarged area of Brian’s 1980 screenprint Time Lag Zero – designed to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Olympus UK and, like his paintings of the same title, based on the light metering computergram in the OM2 and OM10 cameras – fired into the mouthblown glass; the same image is sampled and appears in the stained glass of Arata Isozaki's 1988 Lake Sagami Building. Gridline II is characterised by Clarke's signature amorphic forms and stray, calligraphic leadlines interrupting a regular matrix of blue and white squares.
“In his collaborations with architects, Brian Clarke has helped to redeem stained glass from generations of neglect. Fortified by the friendship and patronage of, inter alia, John Piper and Norman Foster, Clarke is rare among British artists in being committed to the applied as well as fine arts — above all to stained glass, of which he has come to be widely regarded as a master.” – text by Roger Berthoud, photograph of Gridline I's installation by Peter Mcdiarmid, from a 1990 article in The Independent.