'Constructions', 1980–83


In 1980 Brian began to experiment with constructions in wood, using the vocabulary of shapes he had developed through his investigations with the serial cross, and the negative space around these progressions. “Asked to provide a work for the ’Living City’ exhibition organized by the East Midlands Arts Association, Brian decided, in collaboration with a highly-talented furniture maker, Malcolm Nix, to experiment with constructions in wood. Together they developed a highly polished acrylic finish, the symbols themselves being constructed separately and cut into the wood surface. 'Living City' itself uses only a black cross and a red square on a grey background, but feeling that the experiment offered further possibilities Brian developed the techniques, using an expanded vocabulary of shapes similar to those of Marks on a White Background and an enlarged colour range. 'Self-Portrait', the final construction in this series, returned to the basic cross and square shapes but is overlaid with restless pencil marks.” – art historian Martin Harrison in his 1981 monograph Brian Clarke.