A native to British Columbia, Glenn Lewis studied at the Vancouver School of Art and the University of British Columbia (UBC) before moving to Cornwall, England to train under master-potter Bernard Leach in the early 1960s. He returned to North America in the early 70s to take up a position as a ceramics professor at UBC, before accepting a position as a visiting professor at the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, Alfred, N.Y.
Lewis’ work with traditional pottery evolved with an interest in the progressive avant-garde in the 1960s, with conceptual and performance art. His work always questioned the dialectic between conventional objects and art, social obligation and natural instinct, function and wonder.
Although much of his work includes an aspect of sculpture, Lewis has explored various mediums throughout his career including photography, film, video, and performance, building a reputation as a conceptual artist.
Inspired by his decades of exploring the elements inherent in paradise myths and photographing gardens around the world, he established a plant nursery in the early 1990s on the Sunshine Coast in BC called Fragrant Flora and founded The Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden.
Lewis’ work has shown throughout Canada, the USA, and Europe, and he was involved in a number of artists’ collectives and artist-run centres in the 60s and 70s, including Intermedia, the New Era Social Club and the Western Front of which he is a founding member.
Lewis sat as Head of Media Arts at the Canada Council between 1987 and 1990, and has been the recipient of five Canada Council Grants, as well as the prestigious Emily Award from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.