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Modern Masters: Terence Clarke and Henri Matisse

Modern Masters: Terence Clarke and Henri Matisse

/ Tuesday 21st of May, 2019

Echoing through the ages, the style and artistic innovation of Henri Matisse has come to influence some of our greatest living artists—including contemporary artist Terrence Clarke. Building on the founding principles of Matisse’s artistry, Clarke presents a rich and unique perspective that is his alone, revelling in the extraordinary qualities of light and pigment.

A touchstone for contemporary artists working today, the life and work of post-impressionist visionary Henri Matisse has come to define our understanding of modern art in a contemporary age. Born in Northern France in 1869, Matisse abandoned a life of middle-class comforts and conformity to pursue a career as an artist. He then went on to spearhead the controversial ‘Fauvist’ movement, where he and his fellow ‘Fauves’ (meaning ‘wild beasts’) prioritised the emotional interpretation of a subject, rather than a wholly realistic portrayal. Although the movement ultimately proved to be short lived, the exuberance and bright, expressive colours of fauvism nonetheless sent shockwaves into the art world that continue to resonate to this day.

Like Matisse, contemporary artist Terence Clarke begins his paintings as a draughtsman, taking as much care in the process of drawing and planning his work as he does in his execution. It is this initial consideration that yields such a seemingly effortless final outcome conveying so much more than the sum of its parts. Whether it be the light that shines through a leafy canopy, dappling the sandy coast below, or a glimmering shine on a Spanish lemon, Clarke masterfully illuminates and exaggerates his scenes with his carefully considered use of light and shade.


'Magnolias' by Terence Clarke 'Spanish Lemons' by Terence Clarke
Oil on canvas Oil on canvas


As Matisse before him, Terence Clarke masterfully uses paint and brush to translate both his perception of the world and his own experience with its wonders big and small. Through his eyes, an orange becomes more than just an orange; it transforms into a lavish and radiating orb of light, commanding the hues and lustre of an entire scene. It is not so much about the actuality of the object as it is about drawing attention to the simple joy a brightly coloured piece of fruit can bring when placed in an otherwise dreary room. Perspective truly is everything. As Matisse himself famously said, “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

Though his dazzling paintings partake in a rich and bold tradition pioneered Matisse, Clarke brings something inescapably distinct and effervescent to his work: his own exquisite view of the world. His work continues to delight collectors around the globe, brightening collections and prompting viewers to re-imagine the world around them, one painting at a time.

You can read more about Terence Clarke and view his available work here.