Brian Clarke was born in Oldham in 1953 and is best known locally for designing the stained glass roof in the town centre’s Spindles Shopping Centre. Finished in 1990 it celebrates the work of another famous Oldhamer, composer William Walton.
Clarke was educated at Oldham Art School and Burnley School of Art. However, his reputation extends far beyond his home town; he has completed many high profile international architectural projects, such as the Royal Mosque, KKIA Riyahd in Saudi Arabia; Norte Shopping Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and the Victoria Quarter in Leeds. He is widely regarded as the finest artist working in stained glass in the world. Clarke’s stained glass is known for its vibrant use of colour, strong calligraphic identity and the use of grid structures.
This exhibition, which will run from April 20th to September 14th, is a celebration, in Brian’s 60th year, of his drawings, a more intimate aspect of his work. The exhibition presents drawings and collages made since 2009.
Clarke draws every day and drawing is a crucial foundation of his practice as an architectural artist. Through drawing he explores new ideas, reflects the world around him on his travels, or simply doodles. He says: ‘Who I really am is in the drawings. I see the world through drawing.’ His drawings show his distinctive feel for a line, and many of them reflect his love of colour and the importance of grids in structuring his work.
The exhibition also includes more recent drawings of Oldham cotton mills. The latter were a frequent subject for drawings when he was a child; he describes himself as being in awe of their “majestic palatial nature”. Now a mature artist, Clarke has returned to the mills and to his home for inspiration: ‘My love of architecture began with my love of cotton mills’, he says. ‘I am built of red bricks and covered in black smog’.
Brian Clarke is a visiting Professor of Architecture Art at University College London, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Honorary Doctorate University of Huddersfleld, Chairman of The Architecture Foundation.
For more information about Brian log onto www.brianclarke.co.uk