• Peter Courtemanche

  • Mark Harris

  • Eric Metcalfe

    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.

  • Paul Plimley

  • Nancy Shaw


  • Laura

    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.

    Postscript 15: Mark Harris on Laura (PDF)

Talks & Events

Book Launch

May 29, 2004

Artspeak is pleased to host the book launch event for Laura, a parallel publication to Eric Metcalfe’s current exhibition of the same name. The book brings together material from the exhibition in the form of a production archive.


  • Laura

    Laura front
    Laura spine
    Laura back

    Title: Laura
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Eric Metcalfe
    Writers: Eric Metcalfe, Nancy Shaw, Paul Plimley, Peter Courtemanche
    Editor: Artspeak
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2004
    Pages: 128pp
    Cover: Paperback
    Binding: Perfect Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 96 b&w images, Audio CD
    Dimensions: 22 x 17 x 1.2 cm
    Weight: 298 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-48-0
    Price: $6 CDN

    Laura, a parallel publication to Eric Metcalfe’s exhibition of the same name, brings together material from the exhibition in the form of a production archive. Nancy Shaw, a writer with interests in architecture, film and literature, contributed a series of fictional letters from the missing Laura. Metcalfe and Rick Ross contributed drawings and plans for set pieces, while Jim Breukelman’s photographs of the installation reveal the realized project. Inspired by the radio plays of the 1940s, a CD is also included in the publication on which Shaw’s letters are integrated into an improvisational score by Paul Plimley with sound design by Peter Courtemanche. Designed by Judith Steedman, Laura communicates the concept and process of the exhibition using the conventions of the film script and storyboard.

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