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April 04, 2013

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Exhibit of Luminary Limner Only Online

Andy Warhol called him the “master of instant retrospectives.”

Now anyone can view the works of Karl Spreitz, as part of a new virtual exhibition launched online today at the University of Victoria.

The collection covers more than three decades and consists of over 100 reels of 16 mm film. It includes everything from a scene of Limner artist Myfanwy Pavelic talking to her friend Katherine Hepburn on the phone to the totems at Skunggwai (Anthony Island) in Haida Gwaii.

It is a unique project given that museums tend to digitize images of objects, not film, explains Caroline Riedel of UVic Art Collections, who curated the exhibit with technical support from UVic’s Fine Arts Laboratory for Extended Media and assistance from two UVic co-op students and two UVic graduate interns. The project was partially funded by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC.

“Karl Spreitz is a compelling character—both for his larger-than-life personality and his accomplishments in film, photography and the arts,” says Riedel. “He was a pioneer and mentor in documentary and experimental film-making in BC as well as one of the founding members of the Limners Society, an art group that virtually defined the modern art scene here in the 1970s.”

Spreitz, who was born in Austria in 1927 and immigrated to Canada in 1952, did not follow a linear career trajectory. In 1944, he fled across Germany on a stolen bicycle and ended up after the war holding a 16 mm movie camera to film European track and field events while serving as an Olympic coach. In 1959, he moved to Victoria where his distinctive filmic and photography style began to flourish, as a staff photographer for Beautiful British Columbia magazine in the late 1960s and especially at the height of the “underground” film movement of the 1970s.

Further biographical information and project details are available on the site.

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  Media Contacts:

Caroline Riedel (Curator, UVic Art Collections) at 250-472-5619 or criedel@uvic.ca
Tara Sharpe (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6248 or tksharpe@uvic.ca

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(image: fern)