Curated Artist Registry

The White Columns Curated Artist Registry is an online catalog of digital images documenting the work of artists who are not affiliated with a commercial gallery in New York City. Each submission is reviewed by our curatorial staff; in order to be considered for the registry, one must submit work digitally via this website.

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Jillian McDonald
Brooklyn NY US
Updated: 2017-01-19 02:19:15


I make films, performances, drawings and new media artworks inspired by popular film genres like horror and romance. Horror themes and cautionary tales are central to recent projects, which feature simple narratives, archetypes like zombies or masked figures, magnificent landscapes, and local actors.

The Rock and the True Believers (2015) was shot in Newfoundland ("The Rock" to Newfoundlanders), featuring barren rock, the North Atlantic, icebergs, and fog, all shimmering with the supernatural. Local actors, some dressed as mummers, stand among carnivorous pitcher plants, moose, sea lions, whales and puffins. A soundtrack features modified sea shanties in a "call and response" style, traditionally sung on the voyage towards shore. Filmed across Northern Scotland, Valley of the Deer (2013) is populated sparsely by masked predators and prey in modified highland dress, along with apparitions of live animals. Folklore, paganism, and traditional music are woven into a hunting narrative amidst lush landscapes. RedRum (2010), a video shot in Victorian homes in Buffalo, New York, stars teenagers as ghostly apparitions. Undead in the Night (2009) is a live performance collaboration with Lilith Performance Studio in Malmo, Sweden with 100 local actors cast as vampires, zombies, and victims in eighteen chilling scenarios along a three kilometer forest path. In these works, each scene is a separate composition and a nearly still image where little movement, save hair in wind or an animal moving its head, betrays the stillness.

Earlier video work features performances either filmed live in urban locations, or shot in my studio and transposed with scenes from popular films. In Horror Make-up, I applied makeup during a subway commute, transforming myself into a ghoul rather than beautifying my features. The subway audience was unaware they were witnessing a performance. In The Screaming (2007), I trespass digitally into brief scenes from familiar horror films such as The Shiningand A Nightmare on Elm Street, screaming to scare monsters away or even destroy them. This work hijacks the archetypal screaming female victim, converting her from a helpless to a powerful figure.

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