Gagosian Gallery, Heddon Street, London
Lamina, created in 2005, is a sculptural stained glass artwork, formed float glass screenprinted and kiln-fired – using a technique originated by Clarke – with a ceramic glaze dot matrix depicting oak and sycamore leaves – from Clarke's own photographs and drawings – punctuated with areas of blue. Totalling 99 feet in length and 12 feet in height, Lamina was first exhibited as an installation in London's Gagosian Gallery, and is now recognized as a landmark in the history of the medium of stained glass.
"Although its iconography is related to the stately Elysian glass wall Clarke has designed for the new grandstand at Royal Ascot, Lamina was conceived specifically as a temporary installation in the Gagosian Gallery, London. Here he extended the implications of the sinuous physical curving of his earlier Glass Wall by penetrating the outer (clear glass) skin of the art gallery and pushing through onto the street, literally as well as metaphorically dismantling walls and boundaries and engaging spectators inside and outside the gallery, under artificial as well as natural illumination. To have eradicated the conventional vertical 'field' of fenestration is arguably his most radical move yet, and one whose development could have significant repercussions for stained glass. The 'abstract' (and, for many critics at the time, provocative) calligraphic interventions onto the surface of the glass in his early designs were envisaged as acting on a single, flat plane; by contrast, Lamina is engineered to tilt out of the perpendicular axis: the spectator is drawn into the space-without-walls, becoming a participant and a kinetic element in the event." – Martin Harrison in the essay 'Layers of Meaning', from the book Lamina, published by Gagosian London to accompany the artwork's exhibition there in 2005.
"Like his earlier gallery installations, Glass Wall (1998) and Transillumination (2002), Lamina was designed to spring from ground level, and to invite the viewer’s interaction with other spectators (themselves sometimes in motion) visible on its ‘reverse’ side. It also demonstrates Clarke’s grasp of scale – not scale as an abstruse theoretical exercise but as defined in the relationship between the human form and the translucent glass membranes. The iconography of Lamina stemmed from his designs for the new grandstand at Royal Ascot, a strikingly pastoral morphology which coincided with his renewed interest in the landscapes of Klimt and Monet. In Klimt’s Secessionist-period paintings the contrast between the sensual naturalism of the figures and the flat, richly decorated abstract grounds, anticipated the theoretical positions from which Clarke sought to renegotiate a design strategy for stained glass – a reconciliation of modernity with legibility. The shimmering vitreous translucency of Lamina, and the elegiac mood of his most recent architectural projects is extended in the vaporous, papery lightness of the white doves in the apex of Foster and Partners’ vast glass pyramid, the Palace of Peace, a building unveiled in Kazakhstan in September 2006." – Martin Harrison in the lecture 'Brian Clarke: Light Transmissions' at the Royal College of Art, 2006.