Since her inclusion in WACK Art and the Feminist Revolution a few years back, the work of Detroit-born, Toronto-based artist Suzy Lake is enjoying a well-deserved resurgence. Following showings in the last few years in California, New York, Italy and Turkey, Lake is the focus of a much-anticipated survey exhibition at UTAC opening next week as part of CONTACT. Word is the AGO is also prepping for a big Lake show in the next few years, one that may tour as well.
A few weeks ago, I got to talk with Lake in her studio about this recent flurry of exhibition activity and her 30-plus years of production so far--as well as her connections to Cindy Sherman, who was a colleague during the artists' upstate New York days. The results are condensed into a Q&A in today's Post. An excerpt:
Q Your early artworks resemble those of Cindy Sherman, who started later and went on to worldwide fame. How do you feel about that?
A Oh, the Suzy-Cindy thing? Well, it's almost like a market question, although it's probably not intended to be. Cindy has always, right from the very beginning, gone out of her way to give Eleanor Antin and I credit as being her influences. The thing is, Cindy as a person and as an artist is one thing, but Cindy as a commodity in the art market is a different thing. People don't want to know that there's a precedent to her, because of her value. I went to New York too early: My work that influenced her was thought of as being narcissistic and uninteresting -"women's work" as an accusation, not an adjective. So timing is everything. Ultimately, my work and her work are more different than people assume. And sure, sitting in Canada you always wonder, "How far could I have gone if I didn't go to Canada?" But those questions are irrelevant; they come up on a bad day when you're feeling sorry for yourself. I was teaching, I had a family, I loved making work. And now that I've taken early retirement to be in the studio full time, it's like, well, timing is everything, you know? All of a sudden people are interested in seeing what happened between then and now, and I couldn't be busier. So I think I'm a lucky duck, really.
Check out the back page of the Post's movie section today for some great images of Lake's work, and more commentary about her career. If you can't get a hold of the print version, the text-only version is available today online as well.
Lake's show at UTAC opens May 2 and runs to June 25, while a smaller show at Paul Petro opens May 6 and runs to June 4.
(Image: Suzy Lake, On Stage, 1972-5. Performance/photography. DVD Courtesy of Paul Petro Contemporary Art; Prints Courtesy of the artist..)
Friday, April 29, 2011
Posted by Leah Sandals at 8:47 AM