Gathie Falk has defined her work as a “veneration of the ordinary,” the witty and whimsical treatment of the common objects of everyday life. To this end, she has worked in a variety of media from performance art to sculpture, ceramics, painting and drawing. She was born on the prairies to Russian immigrants.Falk refers fondly to their close-knit Mennonite village where people had emigrated in the nineteenth century. She has memories of fields of juicy, red watermelons, the fragility and economy of eggs, her mother’s gardens, piles of fresh fruit from the neighbour’s cherry tree, homemade shoes and dresses, a colourful Parcheesi game board with mesmerizing illustrations of rural scenes. Visceral moments such as these, rising from the midst of economic difficulty, would later resurface in the content of her work.
Despite going to work early in life to help the family financially, Falk attended night school to complete her education and made time to study singing, violin and piano. After years of factory-work, she became an elementary school teacher. She devoted her spare time and summers to art studies and in 1965, after a decade of teaching, she decided to devote herself to a career in art. That same year she had her first solo exhibit and travelled to Europe for the first time. In 1968 Falk was introduced to performance art through workshops given in Vancouver by New York artist Deborah Hay. She was attracted to this medium that she found was well suited to her sensibilities. Falk turned to developing her unique performance style. Repetition of ordinary activities and motifs of domesticity that were central to her performance then, such as eggs, shoes and cakes, would recur in sculptural and installation works.
In the early seventies Falk turned her attention back to painting and sculpture. Signature pieces that were created in these years such as Eight Red Boots (1973) in the National Gallery’s collection are regarded by critics as theatrical and influenced by surrealism. The juxtaposition of ordinary objects in an unusual environment suggests a new, often dream-like experience of reality. This mood is also evoked through the enigmatic treatment of everyday objects such as a ceramic pyramid of glistening red apples, a birthday cake burning uncontrollably, weathered shoes preserved and encased. Other still lives, Picnic with Clock and Egg Cups, (1976) and Picnic with Birthday Cake and Blue Sky (1976) also in the collection, are examples of central motifs in Falk’s oeuvre that are about the passing of time, mortality and death. Cast in ceramic and covered with colourful glossy varnish, they are typical of Falk’s shiny, wet-looking surfaces and the intention that her sculptures resemble living, breathing objects. Dress with Candles (1997), made with papier maché and acquired by the National Gallery in 1999 exemplifies the artist’s recurring themes of life’s fleeting moments and the interplay between life and death.
In recognition for her achievements she was awarded the Gershon Iskowitz Prize in 1990 and was named to the Order of Canada in 1997.
Falk lives and works in Kitsilano, Vancouver.
Bio taken from National Gallery of Canada Website
Foreword by Michael Gibson, Introduction by Mayo Graham
Michael Gibson Gallery
44 pages, colour illustrations, 5 3/4 x 5 1/2 in., softcover
Michael Gibson Gallery exhibition catalogue for Curnoe Ewen Falk Moppett. Our 2013 show that re-visited the original 1982 exhibition at the MacKenzie Art Gallery.
Born 1928 in Alexander, Manitoba
University of British Columbia
2017: Mostly Small Paintings, Michael Gibson Gallery, London, ON
2016: Water Again, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2016: Heavenly Bodies Again, Michael Gibson Gallery, London, ON
2015: The Things in My Head, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2014: Lux: Water, Michael Gibson Gallery, London, ON
2014: Paperworks, Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, BC
2011: Presence and Absence, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2010: Gathie Falk, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2007: Gathie Falk: Dreaming of Flying, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2005: Heavenly Bodies, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2004: Baseball Caps, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Gathie Falk/Apparel, Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam, BC
2002: Gathie Falk: Visions, Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna, BC
2001: Portraits, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2000: Gathie Falk, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC (Retrospective Exhibition travelling to the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON; Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, MB; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS; Musee des Beaux Arts de Montreal, Montreal, QC Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, NB)
1999: Gathie Falk: Souvenirs du quotidien, Musee Regional de Rimouski, Rimouski, Quebec, QC
1998: Galerie Rene Blouin, Montreal, QC
Traces : An Installation, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1997: Apples, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1996: Pieces of Water: 1995-1996, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1995: Heads, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1994: Nice Tables with Details, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Recent Works by Gathie Falk, Art Gallery of S.W. Manitoba, Brandon, MB
1993: Clean Cuts, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1992: Development of the Plot, Wynick Tuck Gallery, Toronto, ON
1991: Venice Sinks with Postcards from Marco Polo Series, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1990: Hedge and Clouds Series, Isaacs Gallery, Toronto, ON
Ceramic Sculpture from the 60’s and 70’s, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Hedge and Cloud Series, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1988: Support Systems, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Support Systems, Isaacs Gallery, Toronto, ON
1987: Soft Chairs, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Soft Chairs, Isaacs Gallery, Toronto, ON
Soft Chairs, 49th Parallel, New York, NY
1985: Painting Retrospective, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, BC (touring) Retrospective, 1962-85, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Chairs, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1984: Theatre in B/W and Colour, Isaacs Gallery, Toronto, ON
1983: Theatre in B/W and Colour, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1982: Pieces of Water, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Pieces of Water, Isaacs Gallery, Toronto, ON
Herd One Installation and Cement Paintings, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1981: Beautiful B.C. Multiple Purpose Thermal Blankets, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1980: Night Skies, U.B.C. Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Night Skies, University of Southern Alberta, Lethbridge, AB
Night Skies, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, AB
1978: East Border & Sculptures, Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, AB
150 Cabbages and Borders, Artcore, Vancouver, BC
1977: Herd I, Forest City Gallery, London, ON
1976-77: Herd II and Drawings, National Gallery Tour
1976: 39 Drawings, Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1974: Single Right Men’s Shoes, Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris
1968: Living Room, Environmental Sculpture & Prints, Douglas Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1967: Odalesque Gallery, Victoria, BC
1965: Paintings, Canvas Shack
The dazzling, The Things in My Head, a fit ode to Gathie Falk, Robin Laurence, Georgia Straight, November 2015.
Collection, Connection and the Making of Meaning (exhibition catalogue), The Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art, 2013. p. 80.
Laurence, Robin. Falk’s Late Style Takes Wing. The Georgia Straight, November 2007.
Sawchyn, Linda. Gathie Falk Visions. Kelowna Art Gallery (exhibition catalogue), 2002.
Newlands, Anne. Canadian Art From Its Beginnings to 2000. Firefly Books Inc., 2000. p. 103
Thom, Ian M. Art BC: Masterworks from British Columbia. Douglas & MacIntyre, 2000. p. 14, 16, 114-5, 134-135.
Milroy, Sarah. Falkland. The National Post, February 26, 2000. p. 5.
Gopnik, Blake. Fertile Fruit. The Globe and Mail, February 19, 2000. p. R3.
Grenville, Bruce et al. Gathie Falk. Douglas & MacIntyre, 2000. Print.
Richardson, Letia. Complex Simplicity. Artfocus, Fall 1997. p. 26.
L’ ABC daire du Musee, Musee d’art contemporain du Quebec, Les publications du Quebec, 1995. Lombton, Gunda. Stealing the Show. McGill University, 1994. Print.
Rybczynski, Witold. A Place for Art: the Architecture of the National Gallery of Canada. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1993. Print.
Enright, Robert. The Thing in the Head That’s There: A Conversation with Gathie Falk. Border Crossings, 1993.
O’Brien, Peter. Gathie Falk – Wynick Tuck Gallery, Toronto, May 2-23. Parachute Magazine, 1992. Rosenberg, Ann. Life Imitates Art for Fascinating Falk. The Vancouver Sun, Saturday Review, October 5, 1991.
Richard, Alain-Martin and Clive Robertson. Performance in Canada: 1970-1990. Editions Interventions and Coach House Press, 1991. Print. Lind, Jane. Gathie Falk. Douglas & MacIntyre, 1990. Print.
1990: Salute to the Lions of Vancouver, Canada Harbour Place, Vancouver, B.C.
1988: Development of the Plot, Cineplex Odeon, Park and Tilford Garden, North Vancouver
1987-88: Diary, The Chancery, Canadian Embassy, Washington, D.C.
1979: B.C. Multiple Purpose Thermal Blanket, B.C. Central Credit Union, Vancouver
1971-72: Veneration of the White Collar Worker #1 and #2, Department of External Affairs, Ottawa
2013: Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts
2003: Governor General’s Award in Visual Arts
2002: Order of British Columbia
1997: Order of Canada
1990: Gershon Iskowitz Prize
1980: Canada Council Senior Grant
1971: Canada Council Arts Bursary
1969: Canada Council Arts Bursary
1968: Sun Award
1968: Canada Council Arts Bursary
1967: Canada Council Short Term Grant
Brock Hall, U.B.C., Vancouver
U.B.C. Faculty Club, Vancouver
Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver
Toronto Dominion Bank, Vancouver
Department of External Affairs, Ottawa
Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa
Art Gallery, Stratford, Ontario
Petro Canada, Calgary
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Government of British Columbia, Victoria
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
CBC Collection, Vancouver
B.C. Central Credit Union, Vancouver
Stanmore Investments, Vancouver
University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge
Canadian Commercial & Industrial Bank, Edmonton
Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax
First City Trust, Vancouver
Ringhouse Collection, Edmonton
Indusman Collection, Toronto
Glenbow Art Gallery, Calgary
CBC Collection, Regina
Dupont Canada Inc., Toronto
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Toronto
Norcen Energy Resources, Toronto
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria
The Manufacturers, Toronto
Lignum Ltd., Vancouver
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg
Musee d’Art Contemporain, Montreal
Museum London, London, Ontario
Memorial University, St. John’s Nfld.
Workman’s Compensation Board, Toronto
C.I.L. Collection, Toronto
The Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton
Grant MacEwan Community College, Edmonton
McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinberg
London Life, London, Ontario
Art Gallery of North York, North York
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, Toronto
Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, B.C.
May 4 - May 23 - 2019
“Power of Placement II” – May 4-23, 2019 We have created vignettes of mid-century modern furniture paired with select artworks by gallery paintings. The seating areas, dining room and living room are all complimented by bold works of art that are enhanced by the furniture. Through the exhibition we show how specific installations can change […]
November 3 - December 1 - 2018
Gathie Falk “1974-2018” November 3- December 1, 2018 Our November exhibition features glorious new floral paintings paired with vintage works dating from every decade of Falk’s 50 year-long career. Gathie Falk is known for her paintings and sculptures that “venerate the ordinary” and celebrate everyday simple pleasures. Through her artwork, Falk elevates ordinary objects […]
October 26 - October 29 - 2018
Art Toronto 2018 – October 26-29 Thank you to everyone who made our 19th year exhibiting at Art Toronto a resounding success. At the opening night gala we were pleased to place a rare Greg Curnoe painting in a Toronto area collection. “View from the Most Southerly Window on the East Wall” (1969-1970) was one […]
December 2 - December 30 - 2017
Small Gems – December 2 – 30, 2017 For the month of December in the middle gallery, we have hung salon-style “Small Gems” by gallery artists. Will Gorlitz’ compassionate painting of a “Gorilla” looks over the west wall which includes a rare watercolour by Jack Chambers, a 1965 abstract print by Jack Bush and […]
October 6 - October 28 - 2017
Gathie Falk “Mostly Small Paintings” October 6 – 28, 2017 Our third solo exhibition with Gathie Falk includes new still-life inspired paintings and a new ceramic sculpture, “Checkerboard with Moths“. Gathie Falk has spent more than five decades creating artworks that aim to “venerate the ordinary”. Her home and the objects in her daily […]
January 6 - February 19 - 2017
Text – January 6 – February 26, 2017 When I was selecting artwork for our January group show, I wanted to focus on art that contained the written word, specifically, in order to explore the use and purpose of the text. Each of these artists have chosen to add text to their work. The […]
April 1 - April 30 - 2016
Gathie Falk “Heavenly Bodies Again” — April 2 – 30, 2016 Continuing her interest in “the veneration of the ordinary”, Gathie Falk has painted her 3rd re-interpretation of the Heavenly Bodies. The paintings depict night skies filled with suns, rays, moons, clouds and five-pointed stars. Stylized on purpose, the paintings are not realistic depictions […]
October 23 - October 26 - 2015
Art Toronto — October 23-26, 2015 From October 23 – 26, Michael Gibson Gallery exhibited at Art Toronto for the 16th consecutive year. The dynamic new floor-plan, new marketing and enthusiastic collectors produced a very successful fair. Our booth featured a balance of young emerging artists – Ufuk Gueray (who we sold out), Mark Mullin, […]
November 1 - November 22 - 2014
Gathie Falk “Lux: Water” — November 1-22, 2014 This is Gathie Falk’s third series of paintings that she has dedicated to the theme of water. Gathie Falk lives in Vancouver near Kitsilano Bay, though, she is not painting a specific body of water. Instead, these new paintings, included in “Lux: Water,” appear to have […]
October 24 - October 27 - 2014
Toronto International Art Fair — October 24-27, 2014 Last weekend we enjoyed a successful 15th Annual Toronto International Art Fair. Opening night was full of energy which continued throughout the entire weekend. We were successful in selling a selection of Gathie Falk’s paintings that will be included in our November exhibition as well as […]
March 1 - March 29 - 2014
“Art and Value II” — March 1-29, 2014 Our second annual “Art and Value” exhibition explores the question of “what gives a work of art value?” It seems that news headlines are consistently reporting: “The most expensive piece of art ever sold”, “Record-breaking art sales” or answering “Why art is a good investment”. The prices […]
November 30 - December 28 - 2013
“The Snow Show” — November 30 – December 28, 2013 The snow show is not a Michael Snow show as many have suggested. This summer I acquired a painting where snow was the dominating force. As we put it on the rack for storage (as you can’t sell snow in July), it came to […]
October 25 - October 28 - 2013
Join us at Booth #802 for the 14th Annual Toronto International Art Fair — October 25-28, 2013 METRO TORONTO CONVENTION CENTRE North Building, Exhibit Hall A & B 255 Front Street West OPENING NIGHT PREVIEW Thursday, October 24, 2012 A Benefit for the Art Gallery of Ontario Special Collectors’ Preview 4:30-6:30pm Tickets: $300.00 Opening Night […]
April 4 - April 27 - 2013
CURNOE EWEN FALK MOPPETT — April 4 – 27, 2013 Curnoe Ewen Falk Moppett was first exhibited at the Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, University of Regina in 1982. Originally curated by Mayo Graham, our 2013 April exhibition revisits this important show. “When I began curating this exhibition, my first call was to Mayo Graham, […]