Gerard Luther Clarkes was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1934. He has composed music almost exclusively since 1985 and prior to that he was an artist with paintings in many of Canada's leading private, public and corporate collections (The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, The Agnes Etherington Centre, Queen!s University, Dofasco, major Canadian Banks and principal Federal Canadian Government departments). He was represented by The Mira Godard Gallery in Montreal, the Jerrold Morris International Gallery and the Pollock Gallery in Toronto, The Fraser Gallery and The Ace Gallery in Vancouver.
His work has garnered the critical praise and support of Alan Jarvis, Director of the National Gallery, Dr. Evan Taylor, Director, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts/Philadelphia Museum of Art and the renowned American art-critic/philosopher, Clement Greenberg.
Prior to his art career, Clarkes was a reporter with the Toronto Bureau of British United Press and Editor of several Canadian Business Magazines specializing in engineering and construction. He also wrote one novel “Peter Icarus” which he described as a post-adolescent exercise in sexual sublimation and cultural escapism.
Clarkes studied art with the distinguished pedagogue, William Ashby McCloy, (himself a student of the famous Regionalist painter, Thomas Hart Benton, University of Indiana) at the Winnipeg School of Art and Arthur Lismer at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Montreal and he has a degree in Art History from the University of Toronto.
Clarkes was for a period of four years, c.1965, Director of Art, Artist in Residence, York University, where he curated the first public showing in North America of paintings, drawings and prints by the great British philosopher, novelist, painter, Wyndham Lewis, founder of Vorticism and editor of Blast, acknowledged peer to T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and Marshal McLuhan.
Clarkes studied music composition with Samuel Dolen and briefly with Pierre Gallant of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. One of Clarkes' major compositions, Amerika (libretto derived from Franz Kafka!s unfinished novel of the same title) is, “by special request of five of the Czech Republic's five most distinguished composers” in the collection of the Czech Music Foundation Library in Prague. Clarkes has written five symphonies, a Stabat Mater, and hundreds of Art Songs (lieder), one violin concerto and a dozen piano sonatas and string ensembles. He has compiled six portfolios of songs: Lessons in Love, Songs of Hope and Gladness, Songs of Madness and Despair, Songs Metaphysical, Songs Irreverent, Foolish and Absurd, A Child's Songs, many set to his own lyrics.
Clarkes is also a poet having recently completed a large epic narrative titled BeowulFreshtold and two other large narrative poems titled Words and Words For Leopold and Loeb (1986) and The Imperfect Work of Seven Days, a Jeremiahic rant springing from the travesties at Tiananmen Square (1990). He has also written two screenplays, Liam and Sarah Monteverdi in the Land of the Big Bugs (1998); The Abiding Passion of Amoretta Morningstar. He is currently engaged in a book on the subject of Economics, titled, Social Economics, A Substructural Analysis of the Economic Paradigm, in collaboration with a former professor of Economics, York University.
He has taken up the brush again recently while spending winters in Mexico. He is working on a new series of paintings.