James Lahey is a Canadian artist living in Toronto where he maintains his studio. He completed his BFA at York University in 1984 with studies in Art and Architecture in Italy (1982) through a joint programme with York University, Toronto and Lowell University, Massachusetts. In 1986 he obtained a certificate from the O.M.A. in the preservation of Art and Artefacts. Upon graduation, James negotiated career and vocation, including positions at The Art Gallery at Harbourfront, The Power Plant, The Art Gallery of Ontario and Bruce Mau Design. Since 1998 James has concentrated exclusively on his painting practice.
In 2001 James was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy. James has been a Member of the Board of Directors at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto, 2009 through to 2012, and a past Member of the Board of Directors for Dancemakers.
James is a past Member of the Acquisitions Committee for the Photography Department of the Art Gallery of Ontario, a past member of the Acquisitions Committee for Prints and Drawings at The Art Gallery of Ontario, and a former member of the Advisory Board of PEN Canada.
James Lahey is represented in galleries across Canada, in Britain and in the United States where his work can be found in numerous private and public collections.
In 2005 the MacLaren Museum installed his “Index” exhibition and published a catalogue of the same name with contributions by Ihor Holubizky and Mark Kingwell. In 2007 “Index” was installed at The University of Toronto Art Centre. In 2008 James opened one person shows in New York and London where “your imperfect history” was published in conjunction with the exhibition by Flowers U.K. His project, “Guido’s Rhombus”, opened at Museum London in the fall of 2009. A catalogue co-written by Ihor Holubizky, Curator of Contemporary Art at Museum London and Dennis Reid, Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario accompanied the exhibition. In 2011 “Eight Days” opened at the Nicholas Metivier Gallery. A publication produced in collaboration with Toronto writer and poet Lynn Crosbie accompanied that exhibition. James’ exhibition, “Photographs”, took place in spring 2013 with a foreword to the exhibition provided by Ed Burtynsky.
In 2015 Lahey’s large scale public project, “spring”, a collaboration with Concord Adex was completed. The project’s initial parameters included selected glazing on the tower, the exterior of the roof top mechanical room and a pedestrian walkway, which required the installation of windscreens. The glazing installations start at ground level and continue through to the 36th floor — on the North and South sides of the building in a glass spine visible from both inside and outside the tower. The Rooftop project features a pixilated blossom visible from many miles away — from the 401 Highway and from the air. The pedestrian windscreens are 3 separate obelisks positioned near a central set of stairs that lead into the retail level of the tower. A secondary project was developed for the interior public areas where these same thematic concerns have been extended. There is a chromatic shift in these interior installations; while the exterior images are high chroma, the interior images are situated just next to black and white, with only a memory of colour.
In Autumn 2017, James Lahey mounted a solo exhibition, “Made in Canada“, at Galerie de Bellefeuille’s new Toronto location. This was the gallery’s first one person show – a catalogue was published in conjunction with the exhibition.
Through 2018, 2019 and 2020 James’ work was exhibited in group shows at the Nickle Galleries in Alberta, the Kelowna Art Gallery in British Columbia, the Ottawa Art Gallery in Ontario. One person exhibitions are planned for Vancouver and Toronto in 2022.