Eric Metcalfe is a Canadian artist, born 1940 in Vancouver. He has exhibited at the University of British Columbia Fine Arts Gallery in 1967, Victoria Art Gallery in 1968; and was included in the 1970 Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition New York Correspondence School, and Morris/Trasov’s Image Bank Postcard Show, in 1971. In 1969 Metcalfe married artist Kate Craig, collaborating together as Dr. Brute and Lady Brute. Metcalfe’s Leopard Reality research led to exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery, collaborations with Mr. Peanut and Marcel Dot, General Idea, and Hank Bull, and performance at the 1974 Decca Dance in Los Angeles. Metcalfe also produced and performed in film and video extensively from 1972, in 1973 co-founding the Western Front artists’ centre in Vancouver and from 1978 curating its performance programme. Metcalfe’s recent Attic Project showed at the Kamloops Art Gallery, The Southern Alberta Art Gallery and the Charles H. Scott Gallery.
April 24–May 29, 2004
Metcalfe’s long-standing practice in performance, video, installation, ceramics, and sculpture, has consistently drawn from popular culture, including film and television, jazz improvisation, and the graphic novel. In Laura, Metcalfe looks in detail at film noir, a genre of great importance to film and cultural theorists over the past three decades.
Centred around a ‘missing woman’, the Vera Casprey novel Laura of 1942 and the 1944 Otto Preminger film adaptation exemplify the classic motifs of crime fiction and film noir. In this new installation, Metcalfe takes on the role of ‘auteur’, a continuation of his ‘oeuvre’ that includes the 1980 video Steel and Flesh. He collaborates with writer Nancy Shaw, and editor Michael Turner in the voice-over script for the sound track, in which Shaw performs; renowned jazz pianist Paul Plimley and sound artist Peter Courtemanche collaborate on the score. Ceramicist Gillian McMillan and sculptor Rick Ross work with Metcalfe in the design of the set pieces for a remarkable new installation that transforms the gallery space into a sound stage that the viewer can enter. Paring down to a few significant elements the lush opulence of the film noir set, and including vintage lighting, draperies and ‘painting’, Metcalfe investigates the strong influence of this popular genre on both contemporary art practice and his own artistic development. Placed in relation to the on-going film location work in our neighbourhood, the dramatically lit storefront space will reflect back to the street one chapter of the history of Hollywood.
MARK HARRIS, ERIC METCALFE
May 8, 2004
Artspeak is pleased to present film critic Mark Harris as he trains his sights on Eric Metcalfe’s film noir influences in a talk held at the gallery on Saturday, May 8th, 2004 at 12:30 pm.