Gathie Falk
Footed Violet Bowl

ceramic sculpture
signed with initials and titled at edge of base (incised) (Condition Noted: multiple chips and losses within violets and rim of bowl; sold “as is” and not subject to return)
14.5 x 4.25 x 4.25 ins ( 36.8 x 10.8 x 10.8 cms ) ( overall )

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Provenance:
Acquired directly from the artist
By descent to present Private Collection, Toronto
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Gathie Falk
(1928)

Born in Alexander, Manitoba, at the age of 13 she was picked from her class to take art lessons in downtown Winnipeg. She studied for a degree in education at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, intermittently (1955-64); studied art at UBC with J.A.S. MacDonald (1957-58), Lawren P. Harris, Jaques de Tonnancour (1959) and Glen Lewis (1964-67). In 1968, she participated in Deborah Hay’s performance workshop at the Vancouver Art Gallery. She taught at the UBC (1970-71) (1975-77). In her art, Falk produced sculpture, painting, and drawings with graphite on paper. Discussing her work, John Bentley Mays noted in 1990, “It was not until 1985, and retrospective of her sculptures, installations and paintings at the VAG, that the undertow of seriousness in Falk’s display of charm and irony was acknowledged.”

In a seminal essay written for that show’s catalogue, Vancouver curator Scott Watson noted the common image of Falk as ‘a surrealist of good vibes – a funky, bizarre artist for whom play and the recreation of her childhood are her most serious concerns. Much of her popularity is based on the mistaken idea that she is a master of whimsy.’ This view, Scott suggests, diminishes the work by ignoring its ‘darker aspect’ – ‘the chaos of many compositions and the emphasis on organic processes of decay and regeneration…the many metaphorical allusions to death.’ This fecund darkness is, in turn, grounded in the artist’s Mennonite Christianity, to which she was (and is) devoted. If there is darkness in her work, says Watson, it is ‘the sign of a fallen work which is in exile from paradise. But Falk’s is also a world in which attentiveness is a prelude to redemption.’…. Falk’s simple, slow combination of everyday actions…. owe much to avant-garde performance in its time – the logic breaking music of John Cage, for instance, and the conceptual dance of Deborah Hay, and the mixed-media experimentalism that was simply in the North American air some 20 years ago. Falk used all the tools and timber in that avant-garde inventory, but she used them to build small utopias of the spirit in the modern wasteland.”

Literature Source:
"A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume 1: A-F, 5th Edition, Revised and Expanded", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1997