Eric Metcalfe

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Eric Metcalfe
Eric William Metcalfe

(1940-08-22) August 22, 1940 (age 81)
OccupationVisual and performance artist
Known forDr. Brute
Notable work
Jazz and Gargoyle series

Eric Metcalfe DFA is a Canadian visual and performance artist.[1]

Early life[edit]

Eric Metcalfe was born in Vancouver, British Columbia[2] and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. He travelled to Europe in 1960 and 1961, and on his return, worked as a truck driver for five years.[3] He then met Maxwell Bates in 1966 who encouraged him in his practise as an artist.[3] On a scholarship he entered the University of Victoria in 1967 and studied for three years with artists such as Dana Atchley and Peter Daglish, among others (1967-1971) graduating with his B.F.A. in 1971.[4]


With artists such as Hank Bull, Michael Morris, and Vincent Trasov, he explored comic book-style drawings and Fluxus conceptual art. In the 1970's, Metcalfe and Kate Craig[5][6][7] to whom he was married (in 1969)[3] started performing under the persona Dr. Brute and Lady Brute. They went dressed in leopard print to art openings and played leopard print instruments[8][9][10][11] with the Brute Sax Band.[12] They also collected examples of leopard print imagery from art, advertisements, magazines, and everyday life, and distributed them through a mail-art network. Metcalfe called their project to cover the world in leopard spots "Brutopia".[8] In 1973, Metcalfe was one of the eight original founders of the Western Front Society.[13][6][14]

In 2021, the University of Victoria held an exhibition titled Pop Anthropology of Eric Metcalfe’s oeuvre, spanning over sixty years, in celebration of the artist’s honorary doctorate (UVic DFA 2021, BFA 1970). It honoured his years as a student in Visual Arts at the University of Victoria in the early 1970s, as well as his lifetime achievements as a pioneer in performance art in western Canada and co-founder of the Western Front.[15]

The Eric Metcalfe fonds is in the collection of the Morris and Helen Belkind Gallery, Vancouver.[16]



Metcalfe's work is collected in the following museums, among others:

  • Art Gallery of Greater Victoria[19]
  • Art Gallery of Nova Scotia[20]
  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery[21]
  • Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) (Collaborative work with Hank Bull)[22]
  • National Gallery of Canada[23]
  • University of Victoria Legacy Art Gallery[24]
  • Vancouver Art Gallery[25]
  • West Vancouver Art Museum[26]


  1. ^ a b Strother, Miguel. "Feature: Eric Metcalfe, Artist". The Torch. University of Victoria. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Artist/Maker Name "Metcalfe, Eric W."". Canadian Heritage Information Network. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b c A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 (online only), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada
  4. ^ Fraser, Dorian Jesse. "West Coast Modernism and the Pop Sauvage of Eric Metcalfe" (PDF). UVic Legacy Art Gallery. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  5. ^ Kate Craig; Grant Arnold; Nicole Gingras; Brice Canyon (1 January 1998). Kate Craig: Skin. Vancouver Art Gallery.
  6. ^ a b Géza Perneczky (1993). The magazine network: the trends of alternative art in the light of their periodicals 1968-1988. Soft Geometry.
  7. ^ Jules Heller; Nancy G. Heller (19 December 2013). North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary. Taylor & Francis. pp. 1587–. ISBN 978-1-135-63889-4.
  8. ^ a b c d "2006 Audain Prize". Audain Museum. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  9. ^ "Eric Metcalfe: Dr. Brute and Friends On View at the National Gallery of Canada". National Gallery of Canada. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  10. ^ Jayne Wark (2006). Radical Gestures: Feminism and Performance Art in North America. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. pp. 134–. ISBN 978-0-7735-7671-1.
  11. ^ Arts Canada. Society for Art Publications. 1978.
  12. ^ Michael Crane; Mary Stofflet (1 January 1984). Correspondence Art: Source Book for the Network of International Postal Art Activity. Contemporary Arts Press. ISBN 978-0-931818-02-8.
  13. ^ Joan Murray (1999). Canadian Art in the Twentieth Century. Dundurn. pp. 174–. ISBN 978-1-4597-2236-1.
  14. ^ George E. Marcus (15 April 2000). Para-Sites: A Casebook Against Cynical Reason. University of Chicago Press. pp. 353–. ISBN 978-0-226-50437-7.
  15. ^ "Events UVic". U Victoria. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  16. ^ "Eric Metcalfe fonds". Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  17. ^ "2008 Winners". Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  18. ^ "2021 Honorary Degree Recipients - University of Victoria". Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  19. ^ "Eric Metcalfe". Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  20. ^ "Eric Metcalfe". / Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  21. ^ "Eric Metcalfe". Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  22. ^ "Eric Metcalfe, Hank Bull. Sax Island. 1984 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  23. ^ "Eric Metcalfe". National Gallery of Canada. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  24. ^ "U Vic Collection". U Victoria. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  25. ^ "Pictures and Promises". Vancouver Art Gallery. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  26. ^ "Eric Metcalfe". West Vancouver Art Museum. Retrieved 15 May 2022.