Gathie Falk’s Decades of Creativity

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Story by Katherine Fawcett

For more than six decades, revolutionary artist Gathie Falk has turned heads with her risk-taking and avant-garde art. Born in 1928 in the Canadian prairies to a family of Russian Mennonite immigrants, Falk made her way west in the 1960s. She currently lives in Vancouver and continues to inspire artists, collectors, curators — and anyone who encounters her work — with her cheeky and thought-provoking style.

Gathie Falk, Picnic with Dog, c. 1976 ceramic, paint media - 60.5 × 47.0 × 71.0 cm Vancouver Art Gallery © Gathie Falk
PHOTO JOERN ROHDE - Gathie Falk: Revelations

Recently, I enjoyed exploring the Audain Art Museum’s (AAM) new exhibition, Revelations, a show dedicated to Falk’s life and work. As I wandered through the bright, high-ceilinged gallery rooms, I learned much about the woman behind the ceramics, acrylic paintings, sculptures, and recorded performances.

  1. She’s playful: I loved the room full of life-sized ceramic cabbages hung at eye level from the ceiling.
  2. She’s bold: There’s a breathtaking papier mâché wedding gown — minus the bride — anchored by a large boulder and crowned with a jagged, painful-looking veil.
  3. She’s experimental: Her videotaped performance-art piece with a strong feminist theme was the first of its kind in Canada when released in the mid-1970s.
  4. She’s introspective: Her more recent paintings of the night sky demonstrate curiosity and wonder while rooted in daily life.
  5. She’s down to earth: The long row of bright red ceramic shoes, all lived in and worked in, show a reverence for the labourers of the world — the walkers, the ones who kick stones, scuff sidewalks, and tread the soil.

PHOTOS JOERN ROHDE - Gathie Falk: Revelations


PHOTO JOERN ROHDE - Gathie Falk: Revelations

I highly recommend a visit to the AAM for Revelations. And when you go, take your time. Open your mind. Go through the exhibition twice. Enjoy this dip into the mind of a creative genius.

Revelations is at the Audain Art Museum until May 6, 2024.

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