The 'Icon' series of collages, 1984


Created when Brian was living in New York in 1984, a major selection of these works and the related Opera series were exhibited at the Robert Fraser Gallery in Brian Clarke: The Icon Series of Collages 1984, and later shown at in exhibitions at the Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, and Phillips de Pury retrospective Works on Paper 1969–2011.

"I made this series of collages when I was living in New York, in 1984. Mick Jagger was doing exhibited a record, with David Bowie I think, and he asked me if I wanted to do a cover for it. The first work has a painting by Bouguereau, 'Orestes Pursued by the Furies', collaged onto it, and I wanted to use that image, and have my stuff going on round it – while I was thinking of designing the album, that painting was on the cover of Art News or Art in America, and I thought it was brilliant, bought about ten copies and cut it out, using it over and over, which is why there are multiple original works incorporating it. Mick thought it was retro or something, decided not to use it – and probably right, he has a good commercial mind. These collages are where I shifted from using the cross and reticules and moved toward something more fluid. I quite consciously did them because I felt myself becoming trapped in the orthogonal thing, and I loved the way paint moved, the organic shapes of cut-out forms. The collages bridged and resolved that." – Brian, 2019, in conversation for the Museum of Arts and Design exhibition The Art of Light.