Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Parachute Riggers, by Pareskeva Clark
Paintings such as this one, by Pareskeva Clark, seem almost camp in our urbane and sophistated age.
Not many artists today use art to make political statements. But Paraskeva Clark was from the Soviet Union, and she felt no hesitation about using her paintings to make socio- political comments.
This picture caught my eye, because it shows women at work supporting Canada's war effort.
Paraskeva, zones in on a cramped area within a workshop. Its microscosmic - possibly even a microscosm of the country at war.
Unlike Soviet propaganda art, this does not show a nation of happy workers. When I think of Soviet art, I think of peasants with smiles (they always smile don't they) holding sheathes of grain beneath their arms,labouring cheerfully for the motherland.
But in this picture, the eyes of the second woman in from the bottom tell it all. There is no cheerful unity of the proletariat in this work. This woman is not a happy camper. The look on her face suggests that she isn't pleased about doing big muscle grunt work while her co-worker gets off lightly, snipping away with a pair of scissors in her hand.
Pareskeva knows propaganda art, only too well. But its as if she's caught in betwixt and between. On one hand she knows that Canada needs to inspire people to contribute to the war effort - on the other hand, she portrays human nature for what it is.
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