Suzy Lake was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1947. In 1968, she immigrated to Montreal, Quebec following the 1967 Detroit riots. Influenced by social and political involvement concurrent to the early conceptual period, she is known for her large-scale photography dealing the body as both subject and device.
Lake was one of a pioneering group of artists in the early 70’s artists the to adopt performance, video and photography in order to explore the politics of gender, the body and identity. Early examples of her work form part of two touring exhibitions titled WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution 1965 – 1980, first showing at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art in March of 2007. In April of 2007, her work was featured in Identity Theft: Eleanor Antin, Lynn Hershman, Suzy Lake 1972-1978 at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.
In a 1993 retrospective catalogue, Martha Hanna responds to this politicization:
“Although she has not overtly addressed feminist issues, the politics of
feminism is an undercurrent in all her major photographic works to date.
The attention to power relations that feminism implies may be seen in
Lake’s work as symbolic of a personal struggle, and her artwork is evident
of her progress”.
Lake’s work continues to use references to the body as a means to investigate notions of beauty in the context of youth and consumer culture. She has a long exhibition career in Canada, and has also shown her work in Europe, the United States, South America and Asia. She is represented by: Georgia Scherman Projects (Toronto), Galerie Donald Browne (Montreal) and Michael Solway (Cincinnati).
Activities and Achievements
- Spring 2013 Art Gallery of Toronto retrospective
- May 2011 Political Poetics (and tour), University of Toronto Art Centre, Toronto; curated by Matt Brower and Carla Garnet
- Sept. 2008 Professor Emerita, University of Guelph
- Mar. 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 Anishnaba" (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
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