Archive for the ‘obsession’ Category

Camp Fear

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

A few nights ago, I watched Jesus Camp, a documentary by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady about a Christian training camp for children in North Dakota. The preacher and her crew use metaphors of war and fear to ignite passion and political fervor in this veritable army of tiny preachers, evangelists, and religious warriors. It is far more disturbing than any of the horror films I’ve seen lately, including the camping themed Friday the 13th, The Blair Witch Project, and Sleepaway Camp.

The most astonishing scenes are the children’s veneration at the feet of a life size cardboard likeness of smiling George Bush, as though he were Jesus himself and the children the original mourners; and the rapture of young children who babble in tongues and convulse on the floor – faces streaming with tears. The children in the film are bright, but terribly sheltered and warned against the wrongs of science, and there is not much choice offered in this ideological path.

I can’t remember the last time I watched a film that had to be paused so often for discussion. Fortunately the rental allowed this punctuated viewing. The indoctrination and mis-education of children under the age of 13 by their parents and others in positions of trust and power, in the name of “taking back America for Jesus” (as if that were conceptually possible), is heartbreaking. The film is inherently objective and non-judgmental, a generosity on the part of its filmmakers.

Superfan in Vancouver

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Third Avenue Gallery

My solo show in Vancouver opened at Third Avenue Gallery on May 1, and will run through May 31. Minutes by foot from Granville Island, Third Avenue was awash in pink from blossoming trees all last week.

Including work from the past five years which can best be described as culture-jamming, the exhibition also features 2 new videos, Superfan and Staring Contest with Brad Pitt. I finished editing the latter a couple of hours before the show opened, the video equivalent of hanging a wet painting. The sweat was dripping from my brow.

Third Avenue Gallery
Third Avenue Gallery

From the press release:
Superfan stars Jillian Mcdonald riding in vehicles with costars Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent Gallo, and Donald Sutherland. Despite their attempts at conversation, the trio of male leads cannot shake her concentration on the Superbowl game. Staring Contest with Brad Pitt finds Mcdonald and Hollywood’s leading heartthrob locked in an endless gaze of a familiar childhood game. In To Vincent with Love“Mcdonald inserts herself digitally into scenes from Vincent Gallo’s film Buffalo 66” playing the ingénue opposite his socially awkward male lead. In Me and Billy Bob, she digitally manipulates romantic scenes from Hollywood films starring actor Billy Bob Thornton, creating a soft critique of celebrity obsession.”

Thank you to Michael Bjornson and Camille Graham for all their support and hard work on the installation!

Third Avenue GalleryThird Avenue GalleryThird Avenue GalleryThird Avenue GalleryThird Avenue GalleryThird Avenue GalleryThird Avenue GalleryThird Avenue Gallery

Searching for Vulva

Saturday, April 26th, 2008


According to Mint, the web stats application I use, the most popular search term that brings people to my site, following various right and wrong spellings of my name, is “Vulva”. Considering there is only 1 mention of Vulvas on my site – the above intervention titled “Auto Sex Change Operations” for which I placed “Vulva” stickers on hundreds of parked Volvos in New York City years ago, I can only conclude that people are searching far and wide to expose the vulvas.

Strange Beauty

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

josie mccoy painting

Josie McCoy is a painter who divides her time between London and Valencia, Spain. Beckley and I met her in 2006 in Valencia when she introduced us to far better cuisine than we were able to find on our own, and a deceptively alcoholic orange cocktail called Waters of Valencia. Her paintings are stunning, beautiful, and eerily unsettling – watery cyan flesh mimics the haunting glow of the TV screen. They memorialize the glamourous beauty of screen actresses that seems at once temporary, translucent and as artificial as painting itself. These perfect close-up moments where ripe red lips, expression-filled eyes, and flawless skin prevail is how the star struck remember their screen idols – far from the trashy paparazzi shots in supermarket tabloids.

Visit Josie’s website for more images. The recent painting above, of Sun Kwon, from ABC’s “LOST”.

Tetris Fans

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

tetris shelves

I confess I love the game. I never really get tired of positioning those falling, brightly coloured pieces. I don’t have to kill anyone, and occasionally I catch myself fitting tetris shapes against the tops of buildings in the sky.
Today I was perusing some fan fiction on and came across a juicy tidbit about a girl who falls in love with a tetris piece. I’ve been reading a fascinating academic book titled “The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media”, edited by Lisa Lewis. In it, Joli Jenson offers a fan vs aficionado comparison that situates the two as versions of the same thing, varying mainly in class and economy. John Fiske heralds the productivity of fans, “Popular culture is produced by the people out of the products of the cultural industries” (p. 37). Indeed.

In related news, the image above is part of a product line made by Brave Space in Brooklyn, whose design is solid but colour choice pales. I noticed the suggested configurations, except this one, all crown the shelving owner a tetris wiz – few blank spaces here ;)

Billy Bob stage act

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Billy Bob

I really hope BB is playing the role of a Vegas performer and isn’t on the Las Vegas circuit himself. I’m not sure what to make of this photo, grabbed from the interwebs, it’s too disturbing.

>>update, February 24: This is a photo of Billy Bob in his new band The Boxmasters which in live performance conjures television variety shows and electric hillbilly music.

Sharing the Love in Richmond

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

tattoing richmond

After many days of installing my show at 1708 Gallery in Richmond, Virginia, we had an opening reportedly attended by some 3,000 people. Many of them lined up to share the Billy Bob love by getting tattooed, including the little one pictured here. Billy Bob fans come in all sizes. Thanks so much to all the fabulous people of Richmond who spent endless hours with me on the installation and planning. Especially Brad Birchett, Vaughn Garland, and Diego Sanchez. Also Ron, Alison, Katherine, Matt, Garth, Curtis, Justin, and Jessi – you guys rock! If I am forgetting anyone, thank you thank you. It is great to come to a city like Richmond and find such a generous and vibrant art community that is this welcoming and that much fun!

See more at 1708 Gallery’s blog!

Images of the exhibition:






Fanatical in Richmond

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008


Fanatic, a solo show, opens at 1708 Gallery in Richmond, Virginia on February 1st.

From the press release,
“This exhibition highlights work from the past five years which can best be described as culture-jamming.

In Mcdonald’s recent work spanning video, web art, performance, and photography, she addresses the American cult of celebrity, the fantasy that buoys extreme fandom, and the mechanisms of “fear as entertainment” at work in horror films. The presence of her image in the work serves not as a self-portrait, but as a projection of universal emotions such as desire or fear. In “Me and Billy Bob”, she digitally manipulated romantic scenes from Hollywood films starring actor Billy Bob Thornton, creating a soft critique of celebrity obsession. In “Screaming”, she inserted herself into popular horror films such as The Shining and Alien, screaming at the monsters to scare them away or blow them to smithereens. She confounds the traditional roles of “victim” and “predator”, or “star” and “fan”, to transcend cinematic conventions. In “Horror Makeup” she applies makeup on a daily subway commute, transforming herself into a zombie.

Caitlin Jones, of Rhizome, writes that her “work is distinct from many other artists also concerned with the cinematic. Not simply interested in issues of narrative, time, space, or the like, Mcdonald looks specifically at the genres romance and horror and how these constructions become a part of our own experiences” (Rhizome, Oct 8, 2007). ”

Fanatic, as in fan addict.

Me and Billy Bob at Brock University

Monday, November 12th, 2007

rodman hall 1
rodman hall 2

curated by Gordon Hatt

i <3 video stills

Thursday, September 13th, 2007


Making them is an endless source of amusement. Here I’m screaming at the monster in “Slither” – I need a vacation, desperately.