DE­LIGHT­FUL, ETC.

Geist - - Endnotes - — Michael Hay­ward

I re­mem­ber go­ing to Gathie Falk’s first ret­ro­spec­tive, in 1985, at the Van­cou­ver Art Gallery, and fall­ing in love with her sense of hu­mour and her quirky sen­si­bil­ity: pyra­mids of ce­ramic ap­ples glazed a vivid red, and ce­ramic grape­fruit glazed in sunny yel­low; wooden cab­i­nets filled with hand­made ce­ramic re­pro­duc­tions of men’s shoes: high­top lace-up sneak­ers, black an­kle boots with zip­pers, two-tone brogues. In one cor­ner, a herd of ply­wood horses, mod­elled af­ter merry-go-round horses in mid-gal­lop, hung by thin cords from the ceil­ing, sway­ing gen­tly as peo­ple walked past. There were paint­ings in

se­ries: the “Night Skies” se­ries, and “Pieces of Wa­ter,” for which Falk de­scribed her method: “I took a long sharp knife and cut down into the ocean to lift out a piece, al­most a square, of about 30 by 25 feet and I painted the top sur­face of this piece of wa­ter.” Now, at age ninety, Falk has writ­ten an “artist’s mem­oir” (with Robin Lau­rence, the vis­ual arts critic for the Ge­or­gia Straight) which is just as de­light­ful to read as Falk’s art­work is to look at. In Ap­ples, Etc.: An Artist's Mem­oir (Fig­ure 1), Falk writes about her im­pov­er­ished child­hood in Winnipeg dur­ing the 1930s; she writes about her fa­ther and mother, her brother Jack, and her friends. She writes about her early per­for­mance art pieces from the 1960s, like the one ti­tled “Some Are Eg­ger Than I,” in which she “chose an egg from [a] white bowl, ate it from a gold-rimmed egg cup, got up, picked up a long ruler, sur­veyed the scene on the floor, chose a ce­ramic egg and bat­ted it with the ruler to­wards a real egg, smash­ing it.” Awarded the Au­dain Prize for Life­time Achieve­ment in the Vis­ual Arts in 2013, Falk re­sists those who tell her that it might be time to “Hang up your run­ners and rest.” “But no, I told them, there’s still too much to do: too many more things pop­ping into my head, de­mand­ing to be seen.”

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