About the artist: Maria Gabankova
was born and grew up in former Czechoslovakia in a family of artists Antonia Laník-Gabanek and Jozef Gabanek. 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 Ales Brezina in Toronto.
In addition to apprenticing with her parents Maria Gabankova studied drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking at University of British Columbia, the Vancouver School of Art, Montreal School of Art and Design, and the Art Students League of New York.
Since 1978 the artist has exhibited extensively in Canada, U.S.A and internationally. Recent shows include 6981 km from Toronto in Bratislava, Slovakia (2001), Art Canada 5 in Prague, Czech Republic (2005) and in Loop Gallery Toronto (2002, 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009).
In 2007, under the title body broken - body redeemed a selection of more than 50 artist's works (reproduced in color) was published by British publisher Piquant.
Gabankova has received several awards and her work is represented in private and public art collections in North America and Europe.
Realist figurative representation with conceptual emphasis on the spiritual and Biblical has been the central theme of the artist'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 (writer Joseph Skvorecky, composer Oscar Morawetz, world champion figure skater Aja Vrzanova, NHL player Miroslav Frycer among others).
In recent years Maria has been commissioned to paint official portraits for the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame (former Canadian Minister of Agriculture Ch. Mayers, Mr. P. Hannam, Mr. P. Eckstein and Mr. J. Walker). 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 is an associate professor at the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto (teaching figure drawing, painting and portraiture), and a member of several artists organizations and initiatives. She is a founding member of the Loop Gallery in Toronto. She has also been invited to serve on juries, panel discussions, conferences and work in film and theatre.
Tel.: 416/535-8063 Fax: 416/530-0069 www.paintinggallery.net (detailed biography)