Gathie Falk was born in Alexander, Manitoba in1928. She began working at an early age to help support her family, attending night classes to complete her education. She worked in factories for many years followed by a career as an elemantary teacher. During her spare time and summers she completed art studies.
In 1965 after ten years of teaching she retired and devoted herself to art. She had her first solo exhibit and travelled to Europe for the first time the same year of her retirement.
In 1968 Falk was introduced to performance art through workshops in Vancouver by New York artist Deborah Hay. Falk began developing her unique performance style. Repetition of ordinary activities and motifs of domesticity were central to her performance, she often used items such as eggs, shoes and cakes. She also created sculptural and installation works.
From 1968 to 1977 she had many exhibits along with her performance work. After 1974 she turned to drawing, watercolour and oil-painted images in an impressionist vein.
Her works are owned by major public galleries, including the National Gallery of Canada. The Vancouver Art Gallery staged solo exhibitions of her work in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1987.
In 1990 she won the Gershon Iskowitz Prize for her contribution to Canadian art. In 1997 she was named to the Order of Canada and in 2003 won the Governor General's Award in Visual Arts. She is a member of The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
In 2000, the Vancouver Art Gallery together with the National Gallery of Canada mounted a major retrospective of her work that toured the country.