Ottawa Art Gallery

A Window on Paraskeva Clark

Episode 31  : Today I chat with Michelle Gewurtz, curator at the Ottawa Art Gallery about  A Window on Paraskeva Clark exhibition.

oag exhibit

A Window on Paraskeva Clark, curated by Michelle Gewurtz. Installation view, Ottawa Art Gallery, 2016. Photo: David Barbour


Paraskeva Clark, Milford Bay Church, 1956, watercolour and graphite on paper, FAC1580. Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, The Ottawa Art Gallery: Donated to the City of Ottawa by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, 1974.


Paraskeva Clark, Working Drawing for Eaton’s Windows(detail), c. 1935, gouache, ink
and graphite on paper, FAC 1570 Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, Ottawa Art
Gallery: Donated to the City of Ottawa by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, 1974

public bathPhoto: David Barbour. Paraskeva Clark, Leningrad Memories–Public Bath /Souvenirs de Leningrad–Bain public, 1964. Oil on board /Huile sur panneau. Private Collection /Collection privée.

Clark revisited the public bath compositions thirty years later. It is the only instance
where she painted nudes, and her treatment of the women in this painting is reminiscent
 of work produced by European painters Suzanne Valadon and Paula Modersohn-Becker.
Clark was familiar with both of these women, having discussed their work in a lecture
she gave in St. Catharine’s in 1958 on the subject of women artists. In particular, she
praised Valadon for her still life compositions as well as her depictions of female bathers.
Like Valadon and Modersohn-Becker, who were both also regarded as unconventional
painters, Clark has outlined her figures. She has also emphasized the geometric aspects of
the bathhouse. Clark was known for including self-portraits in her work, and some have
speculated that the woman washing her feet in the right foreground is the artist herself.
Paraskeva Clark, Homage to a Soviet Film, Baltic Deputy, 1968. Oil and graphite on Masonite FAC 1252. Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, The Ottawa Art Gallery; Donated to the City of Ottawa by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, 1974
All images used with permission