Aluminium Alchemy: The Artistic Journey of Jonathan Clarke

Aluminium Alchemy: The Artistic Journey of Jonathan Clarke

Discover the artistic alchemy of Jonathan Clarke, whose unique sculptures are born from the innovative technique of aluminium sand casting. Embracing immediacy and intuition, Clarke's tactile forms pay homage to mid-century greats like Picasso and Caro.

4 August 2023

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Born in Suffolk in 1961, artist Jonathan Clarke worked alongside his father, ­­sculptor Geoffrey Clarke RA, from a young age. Initially assisting his father to refine the innovative technique of aluminium sand casting that was first pioneered by Geoffrey in the 1950s, by the 1980s Jonathan was creating and exhibiting his own work using the same process.

 

Jonathan Clarke (b.1961) 'Ram-Raider', 1993 aluminium 119cm wide 24.5cm deep 48cm high

Jonathan Clarke (b.1961) 'Ram-Raider', 1993 aluminium 119cm wide 24.5cm deep 48cm high (£1,200-1,500)

 

Clarke’s abstracted forms are first carved from polystyrene. The shapes are then carefully assembled and buried in sand before the sculpture is created by delicately pouring in molten aluminium. Once cast, the sculptures are polished and finished with wax, giving them their distinctive silver-grey patina. The process differs from traditional methods of casting using clay moulds (often used to create multiple editions), because the heat destroys the polystyrene mould. As a result, each of Clarke’s sculptures are completely unique and cannot be replicated.

 

Jonathan Clarke (b.1961) 'Compatriots', 1990 aluminium 58cm wide 45cm wide 71cm high (£1,200-1,500)

Jonathan Clarke (b.1961) 'Compatriots', 1990 aluminium 58cm wide 45cm wide 71cm high (£1,200-1,500)

 

Inspired by mid-century artist’s including Picasso, Caro and Robert Smith, Clarke’s tactile sculptures have a strong sense of immediacy.  Whilst the technical process of casting is carefully controlled, the initial ‘making’ stage is creative and intuitive. Choosing to work without preparatory sketches, Clarke conceives his sculptures as three-dimensional objects. Easy to shape and join, the medium of polystyrene allows Clarke to construct his abstract forms instinctively and energetically.

 

Jonathan Clarke (b.1961) 'Relief' cast aluminium 23.5cm wide 5.5cm deep 19.5cm high (£300-500)

Jonathan Clarke (b.1961) 'Relief' cast aluminium 23.5cm wide 5.5cm deep 19.5cm high (£300-500)

 

Known for creating sculptures on a monumental scale, Clarke has undertaken a number of public commissions including ‘This Way of Life’, 2011, an 11 metre wall-mounted cross for Ely Cathedral. He has widely exhibited his work throughout Suffolk and Essex, and at numerous Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions as well as abroad, including at the Metropolitan Art Museum in Tokyo.

 

Jonathan Clarke (b.1961) 'Balancing Act', 2002 aluminium on a wooden base, stamped with initals and dated '03' 17cm wide 21cm deep 65.5cm high, overall (£600-800)

Jonathan Clarke (b.1961) 'Balancing Act', 2002 aluminium on a wooden base, stamped with initals and dated '03' 17cm wide 21cm deep 65.5cm high, overall (£600-800)


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