'The Two Cultures' series: screenprint portfolio


The classic series The Two Cultures, dedicated by Brian to the writer C.P. Snow, was published by the Robert Fraser Gallery in 1981, comprising eight prints in an edition of 75 each. Three of the screenprints on Velin Arches, Boys, Buildings, and Beauties, comprise a discrete triptych within the series. Widely exhibited at institutions and galleries, including the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Sezon Museum of Modern Art, the Seibu Museum, and the Hessisches Landesmuseum, a set is in the collection of Tate Britain, where they are viewable in the Prints and Drawings Rooms by appointment. In the last six months of his life Lord Snow, the novelist, physical-chemist and cultural critic who authored The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, a book-form publication of his influential 1959 Rede Lecture on the gulf between the sciences and humanities, had become a friend of Brian's and a visitor to his studio, and considered his paintings and constructions of the period, preoccupied with the tension between the mechanised order and instinct, and deriving inspiration from advances in electronic music and the visual patterns produced by technology, to represent a possible merging of the two disciplines.

Printed at Kelpra Studios, under Brian's supervison and with Chris Prater's guidance, the series started as a set of experiments without a corporate identity, a return for Brian to printmaking that felt "in the best way, like going back to school" but developed through the influence of Lord Snow's conversation into a broadening investigation into the tensions that had been a key preoccupation in Brian's work. Chris Prater and Brian made a number of print-multiples together over several years, from exquisite works in single-figure editions, through to larger-scale commemorative commissions for Olympus Cameras, and more experimental work like the major series of Blue and White Computergram works, modular assemblages of screenprinted and over-painted canvases.