Born on Vancouver Island in 1935, Glenn Lewis attended and graduated from the Vancouver School of Art (1954-58) and apprenticed with the potter, Bernard Leach in Cornwall (1962-64). He was also instrumental in the formation and work of collective artists’ organizations: Intermedia (1967-75), Western Front (1973-87). He lives and works in Vancouver.
An innovative first-generation conceptual mixed media artist, Lewis has worked with pottery, sculpture, performance, correspondence, photographs, video and installation since the early1960s. The scope and intellectual pursuits of his work range across concept, fiction, myth and community concerns, inventing new approaches that makes categorization difficult. He was one of the earliest innovators in performance art in, producing “Flour Piece” 1968 at the VAG, and video performance, “Japanese Pickle” and “Blue Tape Around City Block” both in 1969
Lewis has received several awards and been active in a number of arts organizations, including: on the Board of Directors of: LIVE Vancouver Performance Art Festival ( (2007-present); Vancouver Art Gallery (1986-87); Vice President of the Association of National Non-Profit Artist Centres (ANNPAC) (1980-81); Director, Western Front Society, Vancouver (1974-87); Vancouver Art Gallery (1973-76); Intermedia Society, Vancouver (1970-72); worked as Head of Media Arts, Canada Council, Ottawa; received awards: ‘Emily’ award by Lt. Governor, Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, Vancouver (2000); Visual Arts grant, B.C. Cultural Services (1993); Awarded Canada Council grant for Artist-in-Residence at La Chartreuse, C.I.R.C.A., Villeneuve les Avignon, France (1984); Canada Council Senior Arts Grant (1981-82) and (1976-77); Canada Council B Grant (1968-69) and (1967-68); Life member of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Lewis’ work investigates everyday social systems and process, often paradoxically, in producing material “things”. He has a strong interest in the relation of Asian aesthetics to Modernism or Postmodernism, historical and literary references. He often works with systems and can be humorous, absurd and revealing. This is evident in works such as: “Blue Tape Around a City Block” (1969), “Forest Industry” (1970), “Artifact” (1970), “Great Wall of 1984” (1973), “Paradise Myths as Gardens” photographs (1980), “Classical Toy Boat”,(1986), “I Won’t Take Your Hand Monsieur Manet, I Haven’t Washed in Eight Days” (2007-08), and “Purloined” (2007-08). Lewis impersonates an improbable hippy-surveyor in the first two, creates calendar systems in the next two, a mythological sequence of discovery in the next one, and a re-enactment of the art-historical modernist originator, Cézanne, in the last two. These various directions and often paradoxical presentations are held together by what he calls “poetical thinking”.
Lewis has curated a number of exhibitions and programs, including: “New Media, Vancouver Art from the Sixties and Seventies” and catalogue, Gallery at Ceperley House, City of Burnaby; Exhibition Program at the Western Society, Vancouver in 1986-87; a 1986 program of Canadian video, “New Video Realities”, included 9 artists, coinciding with the main exhibition curated by Willard Holmes at the Cologne Art Fair; Western Front Historical Exhibition, Kunstlerhaus, Stuttgart, Germany in 1983; co-ordinated travelling exhibition and funding of “Art and Correspondence from the Western Front” and catalogue in 1979-80; Performance Art Program at the Western Front Society, Vancouver in 1977-79; Projects Co-ordinator, Intermedia Society, Vancouver in 1971-72; and for the Exhibition and Nine Evenings of Performances, involving all 7 galleries at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1970. In 1987 to 1990 he headed the Media Arts Section of the Canada Council and was responsible for introducing the Video Distribution Program, Video Production Centres Program and Computer Media and Sound art grants which mainly benefitted the Artist-run in Canada.
1961-64 Studied ceramics under Bernard Leach, St.Ives, Cornwall, England.
1958-59 Graduated, Faculty of Education, University of B.C., Vancouver. B.C. Teaching Certificate.
1954 – 1958 Graduated with honours in painting, drawing and ceramics, Vancouver School of Art.
1954 Graduated from High School, Kelowna, BC
APPOINTMENTS, POSITIONS AND AWARDS
2017 Received Governor General of Canada Award in Visual Arts
2007- Appointed to Board of Directors, LIVE Biennale Performance Art Festival
2005 Served as one of judges for the Van Dusen Botanical Garden’s June “Vancouver Garden Show”
2003 – 2006 President, Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Society
2000 Presented with ‘Emily’ award by Lt. Governor, Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design
1993 Awarded Visual Arts Grant, B.C. Cultural Services.
1992 Awarded Visual Arts Grant, B.C. Cultural Services.
1991 Appointed to the Board of Directors, Western Front Society, Vancouver.
1989 One of three jurors of architectural proposals for the ‘Digestor Tower’, National Museum of Civilization, Hull
1986 – 1987 Appointed to Board of Directors, Vancouver Art Gallery.
1986 – 1987 Appointed to Canada Council Media Arts Advisory Committee,
1974 – 1987 Appointed to the Board of Directors, Western Front Society, Vancouver.
1986 Served on a review committee, City of Vancouver, for a Peace Sculpture in Vancouver with D. Shadbolt, Willard Holmes and Alan McWilliams.
1986 Life member of the Art Gallery of Ontario
1986 With James Bennett, commissioned to design Vancouver Centennial Medal.
1978 – 1985 Served on various Canada Council juries: Art Bank, Performance Art, Multimedia, Senior Visual Arts Awards, Video, Computer-Integrated Media, Exhibition Project Assistance.
1984 Awarded Canada Council grant for Artist-in-Residence at La Chartreuse, C.I.R.C.A., Villeneuve les Avignon, France.
1981 – 1982 Awarded Canada Council Senior Arts Grant.
1980 – 1981 Served as Vice President of the Association of National Non-Profit Artist Centres (ANNPAC).
1976 – 1977 Awarded Canada Council Senior Arts Grant.
1975 Representative of Western Front Society at founding meeting of the Association of National Non-Profit Artist Centres (ANNPAC)
1973 – 1976 Appointed to the Board of Directors, Vancouver Art Gallery.
1970 – 1972 Appointed to the Board of Trustees, Intermedia, Vancouver.
1968 – 1969 Awarded Canada Council B Grant.
1967 – 1968 Awarded Canada Council B Grant.
1968 Awarded prize for sculpture in “Spectrum 68”, Vancouver Art Gallery.
1968 Awarded prize for sculpture in “Winnipeg Annual”, Winnipeg Art Gallery.
1967 Awarded prize for sculpture in “Perspective 67”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
2010 Concept and curator of “Procession of Performing Circles”, a parade of 6 performing groups, part of “Bright Light”, a City-funded project in Vancouver Downtown Eastside, March 7, between the two Winter Olympic Games
2002 Curator of Exhibition, “New Media, Vancouver Art from the Sixties and Seventies”, Gallery at Ceperley House, City of Burnaby, June – Aug
1986 – 1987 Curator of the Exhibition Program at the Western Front Society, Vancouver
1986 Requested by German organizers of the Cologne Art Fair to curate a program of Canadian video, “New Video Realities”, included 9 artists, coinciding with the main exhibition curated by Willard Holmes
1986 Co-ordinated joint project for Western Front, GruntGallery, Avenue for the Arts Society and the Mount Pleasant Citizens Planning Committee on “Introducing Brewery Creek – A Mount Pleasant Centennial Celebration”.
1983 Curator of Western Front Historical Exhibition, Kunstlerhaus, Stuttgart
1979 – 1980 Co-ordinated travelling exhibition and funding of “Art and Correspondence from the Western Front” and catalogue. It traveled to and was shown at Vehicule, Montreal; Confederation Art Centre, Charlottetown; Dalhousie University Art Gallery, Halifax; A Space, Toronto; Art Gallery of Greater Hamilton; Nickel Art Museum, Calgary; Open Space Gallery, Victoria.
1979 Co-curated “Living Art Performance Festival”, Vancouver, with Paul Wong and Kim Tomczak. This was a large festival of local performance artists done in several locations. A catalogue was produced.
1977 – 1979 Curated Performance Art Program at the Western Front Society, Vancouver
1971 – 1972 Projects Co-ordinator, Intermedia Society, Vancouver
1970 Co-ordinator/curator of Intermedia Exhibition and Nine Evenings of Performances, involving all 7 galleries at the Vancouver Art Gallery
1973 Sculptural wall mural, “Great Wall of 1984”,plexiglass and mixed media, 25 x 8 ft., National Science Library, Ottawa.
1972 Public sculpture, “R. Mutt”, bronze dog, City of Vancouver.
1970 Sculptural wall mural, “Artifact”, ceramic, 22ft x 8 ft., Canadian Pavilion, Expo 70, Osaka, Japan (acquired by Vancouver Art Gallery in1986).
Private collections in Canada, U.S.A., Japan, England and France., collections of David Bellman, Sherry Grauer, Scott Watson, Michael Morris, Bruce Wright, Bayard Palmer; Freybe collection; External Affairs, Government of Canada; Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa; Faculty Club, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario; Air Canada, Montreal; City of Vancouver; Confederation Art Gallery, Charlottetown, P.E.I.; Winnipeg Art Gallery; Vancouver Art Gallery; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Morris & Helen Belkin Art Gallery, UBC, Vancouver