Visual Arts Program
 


Friday, January 15, 2010 — Friday, February 26, 2010

Jillian Mcdonald

Redrum

Jillian Mcdonald - <em>Redrum</em>
Jillian Mcdonald - <em>Redrum</em>
Jillian Mcdonald - <em>Redrum</em>

Jillian McDonald examines the ways film genres and archetypes affect their audiences and the fan sub-cultures that fuel the film industry. Whereas earlier work centered on celebrity fan obsession, Mcdonald's current work concentrates on the manufacturing of fear as entertainment that the horror film genre accomplishes. Unlike contemporary horror films, her work offers no extreme violence, little gore, no character development, and zero plot. These are stripped away in order to highlight the protagonists and their dilemmas. Her recent collaboration with Lilith Performance Studio in Malmö, Sweden, Undead in the Night, features 75 mostly non-professional local actors cast as vampires, zombies, and victims in 18 beautiful and chilling scenarios set along a 3km path in the Swedish forest. Audience members, 8 at a time, are led through the forest to encounter a living horror film in complete darkness.

In her video The Screaming, Mcdonald trespasses digitally into popular horror films such as Hallowe'en and Friday the 13th screaming at the monsters to scare them away or blow them to smithereens. Zombie Loop is a two-channel video in which projections on two opposing walls position the viewer in the center of a visual loop, wherein a gruesome zombie endlessly pursues a running survivor. On screen, the artist plays both zombie and survivor.

In public works, she engages an audience comprised of a very general public that is not necessarily expecting art or gathered in established arts venues. She interrupts the flow of daily public exchange, inviting strangers into momentary relationships. Zombies in Condoland is a large-scale performance commissioned for Nuit Blanche Toronto where passersby are invited to play a part in the spectacle of a low budget horror film shoot: instantly cast as actors complete with makeup, costumes, lights, camera, and action scenes. In Horror Makeup, Mcdonald applies makeup on a daily subway commute, transforming herself into a ghoul rather than beautifying her face.

Red Rum, its title a reference to The Shining where a boy predicts "redrum" (murder) before a hotel elevator bursts with blood and all hell breaks loose, is a video with a haunted horror theme. The scenes take us through a cavernous home where blood - a predominant prop in horror films—drips from faucets, runs down mirrors, pools on stairs, and seeps from cupboards. This blood appears disembodied until the camera slowly reveals it's haunted source. Meanwhile the camera visits many neighbouring houses that also drip with blood, suggesting a murderous streak. Red Rum, filmed on location in Buffalo during the artist's residency in September 2009, features local actors, students, musicians, and homes.

www.jillianmcdonald.net


Some publications related to this event:
JILLIAN MCDONALD: REDRUM - 2010
January and February, 2010 - 2010

 
 
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Laylah Ali
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Laylah Ali's work explores power dynamics and interpersonal conflict through compositions that position culturally, racially and sexually ambiguous figures in precarious, loaded, and unexpectedly humorous situations. Ali uses concise—even minimal—imagery that is specific in rendering and intent. While there are narratives in Ali's work, they are stories whose open spaces often give them the atmosphere of fables.