Spots Before Your Eyes

A retrospective of seven years of work by Doctor Brute and Lady Brute. Thousands of images of leopard skin were catalogued and displayed in seven categories. A leopard salon was installed complete with leopard furniture and an extensive leopard skin wardrobe, including leopardskin fingernails and sunglasses. All this material was collected or sent in by others on the Network. Leopard Realty proposed a phenomenological view that cut across disciplinary lines – music, fashion, nature, sex, anthropology-by following the world line of a single image: leopardskin. Spots was one component of a larger exhibition, Images and Correspondence from the Western Front that toured Canada.

Kate Craig was born in Victoria, British Columbia and lived in Vancouver since the early 1970s, traveling widely throughout the world and spending summers at Storm Bay on the Sechelt Inlet. Since 1975, her work has been presented at venues throughout North America, Europe and Asia. A founding director of the artist-run centre, the Western Front Society, Craig initiated the Western Front’s artist-in-residence program in 1977. She has been instrumental in producing video works for a number of the Front’s visiting artists. Over the past two decades Kate Craig has developed an international reputation for her video and performance based art. Craig’s attention to surface — as seen in her depictions of the human body, the porous face of a rock, the shimmering surface of a body of water or her investigation of the boundary between the contemplative space of the gallery and the structured chaos of the surrounding urban landscape — is central to her art.

Eric Metcalfe was a co-founder of the Western Front (1973 to the present) of which he continues to be a member. Metcalfe’s start was in Victoria – St. Michaels School, Oak Bay High School, and the University of Victoria from which he received an undergraduate degree in 1969. Special influences fro him were Bill West, Jan Zach, Pat Martin Bates, Richard Ciccimarra, Max Bates, Flemming Jorgensen, Don Harvey, John Dobereiner, and others. Metcalfe’s Dr. Brute alter ego (1969-1975), which expressed itself in performance, was influenced by the fluxus movement which embraced the spontaneous creation of art from materials at hand. Leopard Reality (1969-1974), a collaborative project involving video, performance and installation, looks at notions of public taste. Steel and Flesh (1980), Sax Island (1984) and Duster (1994) – all three are in the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of Modern Art, New York – further explore societal values. The Vancouver Art Gallery in its recent Classified Materials exhibition (October 15, 2005 – January 2006) exhibited his video, photographic and sculptural piece Howard Hughes Inc. (1977). The Attic Project (2001-2002) consisting of replicas of 5th and 6th century B.C. Greek vessels was a bogus piece to critique museum seriousness. Laura, curated by Lorna Brown, originated in 1999 at Artspeak Conceptual Art Gallery in Vancouver and deconstructs the 1944 film Laura by Otto Preminger. Currently Laura is touring western Canada.