Eric 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 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 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.
-excerpt from ARTSPEAK press for Laura exhibit 2004.
Calgary independent curator, Diana Sherlock, has worked as an artist, administrator and curator at various Canadian public art institutions including Calgary's New Gallery and Stride Gallery, and the Walter Phillips Gallery and the Media and Visual Arts Department at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Since 1999, Sherlock has worked as an independent curator of contemporary art and freelance writer. She has produced large group exhibitions including Trace for Calgary's Artwalk Festival 2000 and she co-curated, with Catherine Crowston, the Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art 2002 for the Edmonton Art Gallery (now the Art Gallery of Alberta) and Nickle Arts Museum. In 2003, Sherlock was a visiting curator at The Banff Centre's Walter Phillips Gallery for which she produced the group exhibition Super Modern World of Beauty. Currently she teaches in the Liberal Studies and Fine Arts Departments at the Alberta College of Art & Design. Sherlock writes about contemporary art for journals including Border Crossings, Canadian Art and FUSE, art catalogues and the Calgary Herald. She is currently an international correspondent for the Midwest Bugle, an online catalyst for creative thought and action in the visual arts based in the UK.
Eric Metcalfe was born in 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 exhibition New York Correspondence School and Morris/Trasov’s Image Bank Postcard Show in 1971. In 1969 Metcalfe married artist Kate Craig, collaborating as Dr. Brute and Lady Brute. Metcalfe’s Leopard Reality research led to exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery, collaborations with Mr. Peanut, Marcel Dot, General Idea, and Hank Bull and a performance at the 1974 Decca Dance in Los Angeles. Metcalfe also extensively produced and performed in film and video from 1972, in 1973 co-founding the Western Front artist run centre in Vancouver and curating its performance programme from 1979 – 2000.More recently, Metcalfe’s Attic Project was exhibited at Kamloops Art Gallery, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery and at Maltwood Museum, University of Victoria. Metcalfe was awarded The Audain Foundation Award for lifetime achievement in 2006 and was the Visiting Artist to the Undergraduate/Graduate Program at the University of British Columbia’s Fine Art Program. The exhibition Laura is on tour to Open Space (Victoria), The Stride Gallery (Calgary) and The Dunlop Art Gallery in co-production with Curtain Razors (Regina).