Suzy Lake

Suzy Lake, study: Imitations of the Self #3, 1973/2012

Jessica Eaton | Suzy Lake | Annie MacDonell


Suzy Lake is a renowned figure in the international art scene, with a rich history of exhibitions and installations across Canada and beyond, including numerous exhibitions in Europe, South America, Asia and the United States. Her work continues to use references to the body as a means to investigate notions of identity, gendered power relations and beauty constructs. She is scheduled for a major retrospective at the Art Gallery of Ontario in spring 2013. Suzy Lake is represented by Gerogia Scherman Projects, Toronto.

About The Work

“My arts practice was influenced by the American social and political change of the 1960’s. Although I was trained as a painter/printmaker, I turned to performance, video and photography as more appropriate media to explore the body, identity and the politics of gender. ‘Imitations of the Self’ and their studies (1973) are a significant representations of the investigation into the changing role of women from the wife/mother of the previous generation. Working with a performative narrative, the subject applies clown white make-up as a tabla rasa. (In mime, white-face signifies ‘zero’ – before character. It is movement and gesture that defines the character.) Then, common over-the-counter make-up is applied on top of the clown white. These two layers create a mask-like appearance that questions the simulation of the performer as a device to hide or to reveal a truer identity. These negatives were never printed, and are being printed for their first time in 2012.”
– Suzy Lake, 2012