Gargoyles and Improvisations


For many years senior artist Eric Metcalfe has been spending each day drawing and meticulously painting with gouache, adding to an ever-growing series of works. Now West Vancouver Museum’s curator Darrin Morrison has chosen just some of these wildly colourful graphic paintings for a show which also features reference to Eric’s earlier performance and collaborative work as Dr Brute.

This link will take you to the museum’s biography of Eric and explanation of the selection of work.

At last Tuesday’s Opening Reception Alan and I were happy to reconnect with several of our ‘Raiders’ and other of Eric’s friends and colleagues. I was happy to finally have a chance to see an exhibition of at least some of these gouache paintings. Until now we have only been given the occasional glimpse at the ever-growing collection of graphic, layered, dazzling images. One of them has been used for a banner to advertise the show, outside the gallery and we have seen Eric’s work enlarged as murals, in several iterations of his ‘Attic Project’, in the Burrard building downtown and last year projected on the Vancouver Art Gallery’s front entrance.

Of course I was delighted to see our collaboration of a tea-set, one of three I made for Eric to paint with his characteristic leopard spot colours (although already veering off into more graphic shapes than actual spots) in 1995. These were made as 3D realizations of his World Tea-Party gouache painting for Vancouver’s entry in that year’s Venice Biennale. Eric’s friend Rick Ross made the tray, and has made many other carpentry pieces which became part of Eric’s oeuvre.

Dr Brutea, with Art’s Dry Biscuits

In fact the tea-set marks the beginning of my association with Eric. After commissioning me to make the tea-sets we went on to collaborate on a huge dinner set and then some commemorative platters. Eric is known for his interest in working collaboratively. Our major work together was the astonishing Attic Project where, over a period of two years I made replicas of a complete lexicon of Greek vessels and Eric then broke up their surfaces with his characteristic graphic designs. It was a big challenge for me and a good opportunity to familiarize myself with the classic Greek ceramic forms.

Al, tea-set owner Janice, and Glenn


Since then Eric has kept in touch, with occasional requests for another plate to paint. Now that has evolved into his wanting to encourage other Vancouver artists to experience the challenges and delight of painting on a curved, domestic surface. Said artists now ‘raid’ my Port Moody studio several times a year and it is my pleasure to make up platters and plates and provide underglazes for their enjoyment.

Eric will be speaking about his work at the museum on Saturday September 30th at 2pm, so that would be a good opportunity to take a look at this show.


Pacific Northwest

‘Excursion’ to Gordon with respect

Neo West Coast Modern








ikons and gargoyles







Unfortunately I shall not be attending Eric’s presentation as that is also the weekend when TriCity Potters are taking over my studio and garden for a display of pottery methods and finished pieces as part of province-wide ‘Culture Days’. More on that in an upcoming blog.



One Response to “Gargoyles and Improvisations”

  1. Deborrah Krutzmann

    Oct 12. 2017

    “Dazzling” it is. The tea set is outrageous. There seems to be no end to Eric’s complex layers.
    Deborrah Krutzmann

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