Born in Russia, Canadian artist Paraskeva Clark became very interested in art as a child. At the age of nineteen, she took evening art classes under Savely Seidenberg in Petrograd from 1916 to 1918. Following the Russian Revolution in 1918, she studied with Vasily Shukhayev and Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin at the Free Studios in Petrograd until 1921. She met Canadian Philip Clark in Paris, married, and moved to Toronto in 1931.
In 1944 she was appointed by the National Gallery of Canada to paint activities of the Women’s Divisions of the Armed Services. Clark also did silkscreen prints as part of a project to provide the Armed Services staying at hostels with scenes of their own country, of which her work ‘Caledon Farm in May’ is an example.
Caledon is a region known for its hilly landscape. Here she has chosen to show the vista from the top of one of those hills looking down over a farmstead, the barnyard frenetic with activity. This is what Lawrence Sabbath noted in an interview with Clark, “… in Canada it’s landscapes, landscapes, landscapes, a kind of a national form of art, and it’s the only thing you can sell anyway, so involuntarily you start doing that, and when you do it’s a sort of loose work, it isn’t the same kind of rigid thinking when you do a human being.”
She gave lectures on Soviet art at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Heliconian Club in Toronto. She was influenced by Paul Cézanne, but never abandoned her genuine portrayal of the world about her.
Clark won numerous awards and exhibited widely with solo shows at Victoria College, University of Toronto; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Hart House, University of Toronto; the Dalhousie Art Gallery and many group shows, including ‘Canadian Painting in the Thirties’ at the National Gallery of Canada in 1975.
Her memberships included the Canadian Group of Painters; the Canadian Society for Painters in Water Colour; the Canadian Society of Graphic Artists; the Federation of Canadian Artists; the Ontario Society of Artists and the Royal Canadian Academy. Her work can be found in the numerous public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Hamilton Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Hart House and Victoria College at University of Toronto and at Dalhousie University in Halifax.