Suzy Lake was one of a pioneering group of artists in the early seventies to adopt performance, video and photography to examine and critique ideals of the body, gender and identity. Utilizing her own body as both the object and subject of her work, Lake instigated critical conversations on the nature of constructed identity. In her work, Lake draws attention to social norms and constraints and aims to diminish the barrier between the viewer and the artwork.
Born in Detroit in 1947, Toronto-based Suzy Lake has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally since the seventies, beginning in venues such as Vehicule Art Inc., Montreal, QC, Canada; Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffallo, NY, USA; and, the International Center of Photography, New York City, New York, USA.
Recent exhibitions have included: WACK! Art and Feminist Revolution 1965 – 1980, curated for The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA, curated by Connie Butler (touring exhibition, catalogue) 2010-13; Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980, organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (Hart House, University of Toronto) and the Vancouver Art Gallery (touring exhibition, catalogue), 2010-13; and, Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avantgarde in the 1970s, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, USA, curated by Heather Pesanti (catalogue), 2012.
Most recently in 2014/15, the Art Gallery of Ontario presented Introducing Suzy Lake, a large-scale retrospective exhibition and major publication. Currently, Lake is part of The Feminist Avant-garde of the 1970s: Works from the SAMMLUNG VERBUND, Vienna, curated by Gabriele Schor, which opened in 2015 at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany and will be touring through 2016 (publication).
In 2016, Lake was awarded a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and was the winner of the Scotiabank Photophrahy Award. As a result of the latter, in 2017 Lake will have a solo exhibition at the Ryerson Imaging Centre and a publication by Steidl.
Her work is represented in the collections of numerous institutions including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, USA; the National Gallery of Canada; the Art Gallery of Ontario; and, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.