Brian Clarke

born 1953

Brian Clarke, ‘A La Recherche’ 1981
A La Recherche 1981
© Brian Clarke. All Rights Reserved 2022 / DACS
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In Tate Britain


Brian Clarke (born 2 July 1953) is a British painter, architectural artist and printmaker, known for his large-scale stained glass and mosaic projects, symbolist paintings, set designs, and collaborations with major figures in Modern and contemporary architecture.

Born to a working-class family in the north of England, and a full-time art student on scholarship at 13, Clarke came to prominence in the late 1970s as a painter and figure of the Punk movement and designer of ecclesiastical stained glass, and by the early 1980s had become a major figure in international contemporary art, the subject of several television documentaries and a café society regular known for his architectonic art, prolific output in various media, friendships with key cultural figures, and polemical lectures and interviews.

His practice in architectural and autonomous stained glass, often on a monumental scale, has led to successive innovation and invention in the development of the medium, including the creation of stained glass without lead and the subsequent pioneering of a 'dramatically enhanced Pointillism', and the creation of sculptural stained glass works, analogous to collage, made primarily or entirely of lead. The latter two advances are described as having taken stained glass as an artform to its zero-point in each direction: absolute transparency, and, conversely, complete opacity.

A lifelong exponent of the integration of art and architecture, his architectural collaborations include work with Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Arata Isozaki, Oscar Niemeyer, I. M. Pei, César Pelli and Renzo Piano. He served a 7-year term as chairman of The Architecture Foundation, and served on the Design Review Committee of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. His artistic collaborations have included work with David Bailey, Hugh Hudson, Malcolm McLaren, Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney and Ivor Abrahams.

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