Brian Clarke - New Paintings, Constructions and Prints

25th June 1981 to 16th July 1981

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Great Portland Street, London


Clarke's first London exhibition, put on at RIBA in association with the Robert Fraser Gallery, London.

A unique blend of painting and sculpture, geometry and fantasy, humanity and mechanics. 'Constructivism', by which Clarke is sometimes labelled, suggests bulldozers at work on a derelict mud patch, rather than this extraordinary subtle mixture. Great slabs of uniform colour may be peppered with tiny crosses or dots, or they may have just one big event in the middle. The patterns tend to be strong enough to be unavoidable, yet weak enough to grip the visitor by their eccentricity. Colours are subtle more than outrageous, the patches of virtuoso drawing or photomontage are more discreet than dominant. What is consistent is the originality. Clarke is a true original, at home in any media but in no pidgeonhole. Already the darling of New York, where he spends much of his time, the sheer power of his activity will soon conquer London too. Painter, sculptor, photographer, brilliant draughtsman almost in the renaissance manner, glazier and printmaker, his is a dazzling achievement. Whether his art is really as substantial as his versatility, whether the whole of many repeated details like crosses and dots really add up to much more than the parts, the visitor must decide.” – Graham Hughes in Arts Review, June 1981.