Summer Solstice Screens – Brian Clarke

I recently had the pleasure of attending Brian Clarke’s ‘Summer Solstice Screens’ exhibition, showcasing his beautiful stained glass techniques and provoked by his travels around the world.

It didn’t take long for me to realise that I want to put these screens in my house!

Oranges over blues, along with yellows and reds formed a midnight clarity, with light deconstructing colour onto the floor in a poignant collaboration between illumination, tone, and lucidity that remained grounded in the complexities of material all rooted in the properties of earth.

I found myself thinking about how colours interacted as transparencies and how the glass divides space, whilst interlacing with the elements. These Summer Solstice Screens embraced a relatively uniform approach to exploring stained glass by focusing on the interactive layering of image and hue, similar to techniques seen in silkscreen and woodblock printmaking. Historically, stained glass has been used to enhance architectural space, designed to control and reveal light from the outside world, and how those within experience it. Often accompanied by figurative work, usually the images settle between abstraction and representation, whilst always holding a narrative. Clarke’s window piece in the gallery spoke to the language of controlling the light that enters a room and how it can physiologically access what emotes to shadow, color and dimension. This enhances the functionality of an object, whilst providing a clear connection to one’s body.

I was very attracted to one particular section of a screen, more specifically a primarily green screen with twelve square panels and a figuration of petals ascending diagonally. The second panel, a dark stained nettle-like shade, composed of a crimson corner. I felt like a walk through of the whole gallery was worth it to just feel that beauty. All the screens were harmonious in their presentation of color and texture, each magical and vibrant in their own way, but this one sang like a lyre, conforming to no boundary or context. It was sad whilst also quite grounded and peaceful. Maybe I was delirious from my champagne consumption and overheating, but I also know when objects are speaking to me.

Words // Anastasia Xirouchakis
Senior Fashion Assistant

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