The New York Times, Friday, July 31 1998
Tony Shafrazi Gallery
119 Wooster Street
Taking as his leitmotif the heraldic fleur-de-lis, the English artist Brian Clarke has produced a mammoth eight-panel wall, measuring 1,012 square feet, that curves across the space of the gallery. A tour de force of contemporary stained glass, its brilliantly nuanced colors range from near transparent white to rose and sparkling blue. Though its subject matter is entirely secular, it conveys a feeling of great cathedral spaces. It also owes something to Matisse's late large-scale cutouts for the chapel of the Dominican convent at Vence, France.
Starting out as a painter, Mr. Clarke has in recent years become noted for his large-scale stained glass collaborations with architects, in countries ranging from Switzerland to Brazil to the United States. This wall, however, was made as a tribute to Mr. Clarke's friend Linda McCartney. It consists of eight panels, each gridded with 35 squares of leaded glass, differing in their colors and emphases.
In the first panel, a panoply of shimmering greens, the eye teases out the freely drawn fleur-de-lis; in another panel, it glows prominently in a hearty pink-rose touched by white against a background of celestial blue. In the last panel, milky whites define the motif on a rose ground. In panels between, traceries of the fleur-de-lis can be read, but overall the panels are seen as shimmering curtains of pure translucent white or color.
Mr. Clarke's extraordinary sense of color and architectural design, expressed in a scale that is entirely appropriate, make "The Glass Wall" a strikingly beautiful work.