Maria Gabankova was born and grew up in former Czechoslovakia in a family of artists. Following the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Maria’s family left for Austria and later immigrated to Canada. She now lives with her husband in Toronto.
In addition to apprenticing with her parents, Maria studied drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver School of Art, the Montreal School of Art and Design, and the Art Students League of New York. Since 1978, Maria has exhibited extensively in Canada, the US, and internationally. In 2007, under the title body broken – body redeemed, a selection of more than 50 artist’s works (reproduced in colour) was published by British publisher Piquant.
Realist figurative representation with conceptual emphasis on the spiritual and Biblical has been the central theme of Maria’s work. Portraiture holds a special focus in the artist’s practice with an impressive record of commissioned portraits. Among her subjects are many distinguished Canadians and Americans as well as a number of well known figures of the Czech and Slovak cultural scene. Gabankova has received several awards and her work is represented in private and public art collections in North America and Europe.
In recent years Maria has been commissioned to paint official portraits for the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. The artist‘s portrait commissions were succesfully auctioned several times at a Ontario College of Art and Design Fundraiser Mystery Who done it.
Maria Gabankova was an associate professor at OCAD U until 2014, teaching figure drawing, painting and portraiture. She is a member of several artists organizations and initiatives. She is a founding member of the Loop Gallery in Toronto and has also been invited to serve on juries, panel discussions, conferences and work in film and theatre.