Gerard Clarkes: A Haunted Land
This exhibition introduces the paintings of Winnipeg-born Gerard Luther Clarkes to a new audience. Many of the works were painted over 50 years ago when the artist was well known in the Toronto and Montreal art scenes. Presented to the public for the first time since Clarkes moved to rural Prince Edward Island in 1990, the works remain as mysterious and difficult to categorize as they were when they were first shown. The artist has characterized these dreamlike landscapes of the mind, populated by diminutive figures who float across the canvas like actors on a stage, as metaphysical pictures. Unlike so many Canadian landscape paintings, they do not represent personal encounters with the daunting wilderness, but rather a journey through mental space and time. Their protagonists—who sometimes appear as costumed phantoms from an unknown past—take part in an ephemeral scene, a delicate passage that suggests a tenuous kind of dwelling on the earth. The exhibition also features Clarkes’ striking portraits, and a selection of more recent works painted in Mexico over the past decade, and following a long period devoted mostly to writing and musical composition.