NEW YORK, NY.- Pace
is presenting an exhibition of work by Brian Clarke, an exceptionally prolific artist who has worked predominately in stained glass for over forty years, with a practice that extends into architecture, painting, drawing, and sculpture. The exhibition, entitled Between Extremities, examines the foundation of Clarkes oeuvre, presenting paintings, works on paper, and sculptures alongside his glass work, including a new stained-glass rose window installed in the gallery. Together, the works reveal Clarkes engagement with light, color, and, above all, line.
Brian Clarke: Between Extremities is on view at 508 West 25th Street, New York from January 17 through February 16.
The worlds leading stained-glass artist, Clarke is renowned for his use of line and color, which is evident in his large-scale architectural glass projects, including collaborations with Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Arata Isozaki, and other leading architects. The inventiveness of Clarkes techniques is visible at a more intimate scale in a gallery setting, where the exhibition includes work made by layering glass to create optical effects, using a high proportion of lead in compositions, incorporating photographic elements, and collaging patterns and figurative elements within a single work. In glass, Clarkes line is made of lead, which both divides and intensifies color. In his sculptures, meanwhile, the line becomes the primary element, abstracted into three dimensions and executed in bronze.
The exhibition features a large selection of Clarkes oil paintings and works on paper from between 2003 to 2012. In Clarkes works on paper, line serves alternately as a grid-like framing device, which echoes his glass work, and as an expressive and dynamic element within the composition. The paintings are created on matte black paper or painted black canvases that absorb light, allowing for the colors to glow in a way that mimics the vibrancy of light through stained glass. Recurring motifsheraldry, skulls and other memento mori, crosses, fleur-de-lisappear across media, signaling Clarkes influences and his engagement with art history and its references. His newest works also depict iconic contemporary forms, from airplanes and sports cars to light bulbs and paint tubes.
A highlight of the exhibition is Dont Forget the Lamb (Obverse), a nearly eight-foot-tall rose window installed in the final gallery. The window inverts the typical ratios of glass to lead, with highly-saturated panels of colored glass piercing a predominately opaque field. His new rose window in lead and glass can be interpreted as a scaled-down re-visioning of the medieval glazing that initially inspired him as a youth: its celestial, rhapsodic imagery, arcadian and celebratory, fixes him in what is doubtless a congenial place, as the quintessential Gothic Modernist, writes Martin Harrison. Clarke has appropriated the windows pattern as a template for drawings, as a basis for linear extemporization, and now for a lead framework into which he has introduced his glass. The window may be read as a rippled sunset flower set in a leafy, dappled surround; white birds fly out from this cluster, their wings mimicking the Gothic lines.
Brian Clarke (b. 1953, Oldham, Lancashire, England) is best known for radically updating and innovating the medium of stained glass, while also maintaining active practices in painting, sculpture, mosaics, and tapestry. Since the early 1970s, he has collaborated with some of the worlds most prominent architects and artists to create stained-glass proposals and installations for hundreds of projects, including The Shard, London (architect: Renzo Piano); the Pyramid of Peace and Accord, Kazakhstan (architect: Norman Foster); the Al Faisaliyah Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (architect: Foster + Partners); the Pfizer World Headquarters, New York; the Papal Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature, London, U.K.; the Darmstadt Synagogue, Germany; Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany; Linköping Cathedral, Linköping, Sweden; NorteShopping, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and the Research Centre, Saudi Arabia (architect: Zaha Hadid). Clarke also designed stage sets for two of Paul McCartneys world tours and for the Dutch National Ballet.
Clarkes stained-glass works and paintings have been the subject of exhibitions at international museums including the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands; Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan; Munich Stadtmuseum, Germany; the Centre International de Vitrail, Chartres, France; and the Vitro Musée, Romont, Switzerland. His work is represented in international public and private collections worldwide, including the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, where his 1,000-square-foot installation The Glass Wall (1998) was on permanent view until this year.
Clarke lives and works in London.