Suzy Lake began her art practice in 1968. Following the social and political unrest of the 1960's she emigrated from Detroit to Montreal (1968), and then to Toronto in 1978. Active to the needs of her communities, she was a co-founder of Vehicule Art Inc. (Montreal, 1972) and the Toronto Photographers Workshop (Toronto, 1978). Concurrent to her practice, Lake taught for 40 years in Montreal, Toronto, and received Professor Emerita status from the University of Guelph in 2008.
Lake was among the first female artists in Canada to adopt performance, video, and photography to explore the politics of gender, the body, and identity. In 1993, she was the subject of a major mid-career retrospective, Point of Reference, organized by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in 1993. Suzy has participated in significant conceptual or feminist exhibitions such as: WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (LA MOCA and tour, 2007-08), Identity Theft: Eleanor Antin, Lynn Hershman, Suzy Lake, 1972-1978 (Santa Monica Museum of Art, 2007), Held Together With Water (Sammlung Verbund, Vienna and tour, 2008) and Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-80 (2010).
Suzy continues to address the relationship of the individual to societal forces in order to reveal constructions and restraints that have been built into our culture. In 2013, Suzy was awarded the Dazibao artist book prize and launched Suzy Lake: Performing an Archive in 2015. In 2014 the Art Gallery of Ontario presented a full-career retrospective with a substantial book titled Introducing Suzy Lake. Both books are available through Amazon. Suzy currently lives and makes work in Toronto.
Activities and Achievements
- 2016 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts
- 2013 Dazibao Artist Book Prize launched Suzy Lake: Performing an Archive (2015)
- November 2014 Art Gallery of Ontario retrospective
- May 2011 Political Poetics (and tour), University of Toronto Art Centre, Toronto; curated by Matt Brower and Carla Garnet
- September 2008 Professor Emerita, University of Guelph
- March 2007 WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (and tour), Los Angeles, Museum Of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California, curated by Connie Butler
- May 2007 Identity Theft: Eleanor Antin, Lynne Hershman and Suzy Lake 1972-1978, Santa Monica Museum, Santa Monica, California, curated by Jori Finkel
- 2004 Elected to the Royal Canadian Academy for the Arts
- 2000 Kodak Lecture series, Ryerson University
- 1997 Greater Toronto Arts Foundation, Visual Arts Award
- 1994 - 2011 represented by Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
- 1993 A Point of Reference, retrospective exhibition & tour, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography of the National Gallery of Canada
- 1991 Named "Honourary Friend of the Teme Augama Anishnabai" (Bear Island Band) for exhibition and agit/prop support for their land claim
- 1989 Named Honorary Vice President, "Mois de la Photo"
- 1988 - 2008 University of Guelph, full time faculty
- 1978 - 1983 Toronto Photographers Workshop, board member (founding member through Toronto Photographer's Co-op)
- 1977 - 1988 Represented by the Sable Castelli Gallery, Toronto
- 1975 - 1978 Concordia/Loyola Photographer's Workshop, animateur
- 1974 - 1978 Represented by Galerie Gilles Gheerbrant, Montreal
- 1971 - 1976 Vehicule Art Inc. (Montreal), founding member and Board member
- 1969 - 1976 Montreal Museum School of Art, full time and sessional instructor