Brian Clarke: Works on Paper 1969–2011
28th February 2011 to 27th March 2011
Phillips de Pury, Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's Headquarters, London
"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.
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."