Brian Clarke

, b. 1953

Throughout his career, architectural artist Brian Clarke has endeavoured to fully integrate his medium within architecture. Widely considered the most important artist working in stained glass today, he has revolutionised not only technologies but also philosophical conceptions of what can be achieved through this medium. Equally important is his pictorial practice, explored in canvas paintings, collages, three-dimensional sculptures and leadworks. Clarke was born in Oldham, Lancashire on 2 July 1953 into a working class family. His father, Edward, was a miner, and his mother, Lilian, worked at the local cotton mill. His paternal grandmother was a Spiritualist and a medium, a peculiar presence that made him more receptive to art and poetry, as well as the concept that the past remains an alive presence within the present. Clarke’s first real encounter with a kind of art that was truly grand and elevating occurred in primary school, when he went on a trip to the cathedral city of York. As a young boy, standing in the nave of York Minster, he was overwhelmed by the power of stained glass, a multi-sensory experience that was so intense it made him faint.