Mar. 5, 2005. 10:47 AM
She's soaking in the art of obsession

PETER GODDARD
ART BY NUMBERS


To Vincent, With Love (2004), by Jillian Mcdonald

If anyone is more disliked in the movie business than Vince Gallo, his/her name has yet to make it to the Internet that's disliked as an actor, director, star, hunk, raging narcissist, screen presence, whatever.

This has come about because Gallo, the grizzled auteur behind the movie Buffalo '66 and The Brown Bunny, has worked as all of the above. And we haven't even mentioned his stints as an artist and/or musician.

So if you really wanted to rile your dream guy, what better way than to cozy up to old Vince in his bedroom or, hey, maybe even his tub particularly if your dream guy is Billy Bob Thornton, actor, star, hunk, narcissist, etc., who might take exception to your lascivious ways.

Driving Billy Bob nuts with jealousy is the driving preoccupation of Jillian Mcdonald, a Canadian media and performance artist now living in Brooklyn, N.Y. and teaching computer art at Pace University.

To Vincent, With Love, Mcdonald's current installation in a brown-painted room at YYZ Artists' Outlet, has four separate video monitors showing an encounter between Mcdonald and Gallo in Buffalo '66. Other than their shy glances no raging lust here, Mcdonald is Canadian, after all what lifts this work far out of the ordinary is our understanding that Mcdonald wasn't in Buffalo '66 until she digitally inserted her own image into each scene.

Mcdonald's Billy Bob habit began after she woke up from an uneasy sleep during a 2002 flight to San Francisco, to see a slow-motion kiss between Billy Bob and Cate Blanchett in Bandits.

Thinking that she should have been doing the kissing, the artist created "Me and Billy Bob" (2003-04 and ongoing) shown at the Drake Hotel last year, as a way to note how "misplaced intimacy is a symptom of our heavily mediated culture."

To underline her thesis, she created MeandBillyBob.com, which, as she noted, "masquerades as a fan site, leading the visitor into position as voyeur."

But Billy Bob Thornton wouldn't play along. "So to make Billy Bob jealous, I'm making these scenes with young, kind-of Billy Bob guys," says Mcdonald.

"Gallo fits that role. I was also conscious that he's a dead ringer for my ex.

"At the time, I wasn't conscious of (Gallo's) notoriety. He hasn't tried to make contact with me. A new project that I will be launching very soon will be about the screen kiss. I'm kissing 11 different actors. So I'm upping the ante'' (on Billy Bob).

1Getting into the film: "I shoot myself against a blue screen or a green screen doing the same scene about 20 times I have a little monitor to see what I'm doing then I put the scenes in the (computer) software. Then I match the colour of my video with the original."

2Tub scene: In it, she seems to be slowly lathering some soap while looking directly into the camera. His head is down. But as she looks at us he appears to be sneaking a peek at her.

"In it you see me doing four different takes of the same scene," Mcdonald says. "If you were to watch the same take it would be boring."

3Her character: "I'm partly responding to his character. I'm also playing up Christina Ricci's character (as the kidnapped Layla, who inexplicably falls for Gallo in Buffalo '66). She doesn't try to get his attention at times, too. It's partly my own character, how I would respond in the situation. He's not very socially able to communicate with women."


To Vincent, With Love is at YYZ Artists' Outlet, 401 Richmond St. W., Suite 140, until March 26, along with Gue Schmidt's audio installation To Hear Is To See and Mike Hansen's Pillow Talk in the YYZ window.



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