Brian Clarke: Spitfires and Primroses, presenting Brian Clarke’s latest stained-glass pieces and paintings, opened in February 2015 at Pace Gallery, London. The exhibition ran in conjunction with A Strong Sweet Smell of Incense: A Portrait of Robert Fraser, a group exhibition curated by Clarke celebrating his art dealer and friend Robert Fraser. This exhibition included the installation of a new site-specific stained glass window.
In the 2015 catalogue Brian Clarke: Spitfires & Primroses 2012–2014 / Works 1977–85, Amanda Harrison writes:
‘Spitfires and Primroses, two seemingly diverse subjects, both embody themes explored in the 1970s. For these disparate choices, Clarke appoints two different treatments. The aspect of precision in the Spitfire paintings contrasts with the irregular, nebulous forms. The Primroses series is a study of outwardly unsystematic pattern produced by vegetative growth. Clarke’s earlier works based on natural forms – fleurs-de-lis, bluebells, orchids and leaves – all generated series. The multiple, factory-made Spitfires, like their stencilled outline, are treated by Clarke as both symbol and pattern, whereas primroses, though basically uniform in size and design, are vehicles for investigating randomly coalescing masses of free-form incidents of shape and colour.’