A University of Guelph professor emerita and well-known artist will be featured in a career-spanning survey beginning Nov. 5 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

“Introducing Suzy Lake” will feature more than 50 works by the artist in her first-ever retrospective. The show covers almost five decades and includes new works created for this exhibition.

Lake, who retired from Guelph’s School of Fine Art and Music, was among a pioneering group of artists in the early ’70s to use performance, video and photography to explore the politics of identity, beauty, gender and aging.

Her photographs, videos and performances draw attention to social norms and constraints, and aim to diminish the barrier between viewer and artwork.

Don Bruce, dean of the College of Arts, says this retrospective “attests to Suzy’s stature in the contemporary art scene. Her focus on the body and gender, coupled with her political vision, has been a creative force in modern photography.”

He added: “We miss her in the College but are very pleased to see that the public will have an opportunity to experience the depth and breadth of her work at the AGO.”

Lake, who joined U of G in 1978, has often used herself as a subject for her art and in her teaching.  She has influenced generations of artists, especially women.

Including images of Lake from age six to 66, “Introducing Suzy Lake” shows the artist as her political ideals are forged in Detroit’s civil rights movement of the late 1960s; as she realizes her first successes in Montreal’s artist-led cultural boom of the 1970s; and as she finds a home in Toronto in 1978 and continues to hone her artistic vision.

The show is co-curated by AGO members Georgiana Uhlyarik, associate curator of Canadian art, and Sophie Hackett, associate curator of photography. The exhibition consists of pieces from the AGO collection and numerous loaned works.

The show runs from Nov. 5 to March 22, 2015.

On Nov. 12, Lake will give a “Meet the Artist” talk at the AGO at 5:30 p.m., followed by the official opening of the exhibit from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free this day.

Suzy Lake: Playing with Time,a film by Annette Mangaard, will be screened Nov. 21, 5:30 p.m., in the AGO’s Jackman Hall.