30 April – 25 June 2011
Curated by Matthew Brower and Carla Garnet
Organized by the University of Toronto Art Centre and the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
In May 2011 UTAC and Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival will mount Suzy Lake: Political Poetics a major themed exhibition of the work of a seminal figure in the history of Canadian art and feminist practice on the international stage.
Above right: Suzy Lake, Choreographed Puppet #4-5, Performance/ photography, 1976. Courtesy of Paul Petro Contemporary Art.
Above: Suzy Lake, Extended Breathing: Under Porchlight, Performance/ photography, 2009. Courtesy of Paul Petro Contemporary Art.
Suzy Lake: Political Poetics is one of the primary exhibitions in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photogaphy Festival. CONTACT 2011: Figure and Ground investigates the way photography mediates how we perceive, recognize and experience the rapidly changing world around us. This year’s festival explores the tensions between humanity and nature, from the figure in the landscape to the effect of human intervention on the ground.
Lake’s approach to art making over 40 years has been rigorous and challenging. One of the key pioneers in body-based work, Lake produced a significant and coherent corpus of work that examines both politically and aesthetically the experience of gendered embodiment. Beginning in the 1970s, Lake took her own body and life as the subject of her work. From series such as On Stage (1972-5), Choreographed Puppets (1976) and Impositions (1977) through to Peonies and the Lido (2002) and Extended Breathing (2008-present) she has photographed herself in staged situations and using costumes, props and actions to examine models of femininity. In this way she broke ground for later practitioners such as Cindy Sherman.
Lake’s photo-based and performative explorations of the body, femininity, and beauty move beyond simplistic critique to offer a powerful and nuanced investigation into the experience and expression of female identities in the context of contemporary political, social and media environments. Lake’s practice of performing for her own camera creates a complex body of work that politically and aesthetically engages with herself as both the subject and the object of vision. Through her image doubles Lake opened up the fraught relations between image and identity that have become a central concern of late 20th and early 21st century art practice.
A catalogue will be published to provide theoretical content and to document the exhibition with essays written by the curators, Carla Garnet and Matt Brower, and writer, cultural theorist and historian Dot Tuer.
The exhibition will tour to the , the McIntosh Gallery at the University of Western Ontario, the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre at the University of Guelph, Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax, and the Art Gallery of Peterborough.
The exhibition is supported in part through contributions from the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts; Partners in Art; the Ontario Arts Council; Celebrate Ontario; the Toronto Arts Council; the Canada Council, and the Delta Gamma Women’s Fraternity. With additional support from: Janal Bechthold, Jane Bunting, Gillian Fleming, Jean Griffiths, Sasha Krstic, Judith McErvel, Margaret McKelvey, Nancy Robinson, Patti Stoll, Annita Wilson and Jane Zeidler.
Suzy Lake: Political Poetics
With essays by: Matthew Brower, Carla Garnet and Dot Tuer.
Catalogue of an exhibition curated by Matthew Brower and Carla Garnet and held at the University of Toronto Art Centre
from April 30 – June 25, 2011.
Co-published with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and with the generous support of Partners in Art
Includes bibliographical references, pp. 68, colour plates,