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June 2016

Maria Gabankova: All About the Residents and Dissidents

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Home / Residents & Dissidents
by Maria Gabankova

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In case you didn’t make it to the artist talk, here’s a little more about Maria Gabankova and her exhibition Home / Residents & Dissidents!


Love is not a being – for – itself quality but a quality by which or in which you are for others.
– Soren Kierkegaard

Images of human faces and figures in this exhibition offer an inquiry in to the meaning of home. Each face and figure become a territory where I explore a life’s journey and what home means and what it means to loose it.

There are four small series in this selection of works:

In Dissidents the paintings portray real persons who at some point in their life became dissidents because of their theological and spiritual perspective.

a) Aleš Březina – studied theology, signatory of Charter 77, a human rights document in former Czechoslovakia in 1977; imprisoned as a conscientious objector; expelled into exile to Canada
b) Nadezhda Andreyevna Tolokonnikovova – studied philosophy; was a member of the Pussy Riot band, imprisoned in a labour camp for a performance of a punk prayer; continues to express her solidarity with the prisoners and the oppressed
c) Pavel Rejchrt – is a non conformist theologian, poet and writer, and a painter, lives in Prague
d) Svatopluk Karásek – a song writer – priest, signatory of Charter 77, was persecuted and exiled to Switzerland, now lives as a resident in Prague

In Residents the pencil sketches drawn from life and the paintings represent a visual report from a nursing home in Vancouver where I spent time visiting my mother during of most of 2014. Often the residents are not able to take care of themselves or to feed themselves and yet they have their dignity. In spite of not being able to communicate verbally they do so through their facial expressions and gestures.

We can only guess who these people are: artists, workers, poets, doctors, lawyers or just people abandoned, who don’t have anyone to care for them or even visit them.

Two encaustic paintings House without home I. & II. are interpretations of buildings / homes deserted and yet the presence of those who lived there remains.

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In Homeless the works Where is my home? and Birth of the soul contemplate a searching for home or consequences of loosing home. Similarly in Going home two pilgrims or homeless men walk away into the unknown towards a home beyond the earth.

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It is an old belief and it is a good belief, that our life is a pilgrim’s progress — that we are strangers on the earth, but that though this be so, yet we are not alone for our Father is with us. We are pilgrims, our life is a long walk or journey from earth to Heaven.

– Vincent van Gogh


Like what you see? Click here to see more by Maria Gabankova.

Mary Catherine Newcomb Augury

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June 18 – July 10, 2016

Opening Reception: June 18, 2016 2-5 PM

Artist Tour: June 26, 2016 2PM

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Newcomb is interested in how we assimilate information to create models of reality, as well as the use of narrative and myth as tools to situate ourselves in the created context. In Augury the artist draws on examples that parallel common personal histories, showing how these are reshaped to make the world psychologically habitable and to obliterate an uncomfortable awareness of human nature and frailty.
Cattle bones collected throughout the American Southwest are covered with Talavara inspired decor and “reassembled” to resurrect Miss Real Silver. This piece refers to an Arizona family ranch that was sold before the artist was born – but it has become a repository of imagined and romanticized family memories for a collection of cousins. Pieces of Talavara pottery from that era, whose design reflects multiple influences following multiple political conquests, remain in the family.
Augury and the Fordwich Hare allude to the scapegoating that frequently follows an individual’s persecution by a malevolent but influential force of nature. In these works, the Hare becomes a reminder of an inconvenient and shameful truth and he finds himself isolated without voice – homeless in the most fundamental sense of the word: psychologically disintegrated.
What happens next? What is the cost of oblivion and how does it play out on a larger stage?
Newcomb’s work has been widely exhibited and has garnered various grants and awards. She is a member of the Nethermind Collective and currently teaches in the Visual and Creative Arts Program at Sheridan College.

Maria Gabankova Home / Residents & Dissidents

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June 18 – July 10, 2016

Opening Reception: June 18, 2016 2-5 PM

Artist Tour: June 26, 2016 2PM

Loop Gallery is pleased to announce Home / Residents & Dissidents, a new exhibition by Maria Gabankova.
Influenced by personal experience, Gabankova’s Home / Residents & Dissidents explores what it means to have a home and what it means to lose it.
Gabankova draws her subject matter from the definition of home: whether it is the place, its inhabitants, or the sense of belonging it somehow provides. Within this framework, the artist then considers the act of residency. For instance, what does it mean to go from being a resident in a family home to a resident in a nursing home, the sort of place not well known for offering the same kind of belonging?
Of particular importance to Gabankova, who fled Czechoslovakia as a young political refugee in 1968, is the loss of home under the strain of cultural and political conflict. Ongoing reports of displacement continue to feed the artist’s investigation into the consequences of the choices facing these residents: to remain a resigned resident or turn dissident. Complex studies of facial expressions, body language, and inanimate elements of home (both inhabited and deserted) come together in Home / Residents & Dissidents to showcase the effect notions of home have on communities worldwide.
Maria Gabankova is a Toronto-based artist and founding member of Loop Gallery. Born in former Czechoslovakia, she also spends time in British Columbia and Prague, Czech Republic, with frequent trips to other European destinations. She taught figure drawing, painting, and portraiture at OCAD University in Toronto from 1990 until 2015 and has exhibited her work extensively in Canada and internationally since 1980. Her work is represented in both private and corporate collections in Canada, the United States, South Korea, and Europe.