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Jillian Mcdonald, Horror Make-up

166 North 12th Street, 917-301-6680
September 8 - October 15, 2006
Reception: Friday, September 8, 7 - 9 PM
Web Site

My new body of work, “Horror Cycle” concentrates on the manufacturing of fear as entertainment that the horror film genre accomplishes. Unlike contemporary horror films, this work offers no extreme violence, little gore, no character development, and zero plot. These are stripped away in order to highlight the protagonist under a little more control.

In “Horror Make-up” I transform myself from normal to zombie in the midst of a daily subway commute. Instead of improving my features, like the woman who steadily applies makeup en route to work or play, I become gruesome. This work takes cues from the legion of women who perform requisite beauty rituals on the subway in a curious private zone where they are unaware of anything outside their activity, and the rising cult of zombies in popular culture, where zombie gatherings and zombie lore proliferate. Locating the audience physically in the subway performance space positions them as both voyeur and potential victim. The zombie, among other “undead” monsters, is the definitive horror creature thanks to its abject existence – robbed of identity, neither fully dead nor fully alive, neither clever nor resourceful, and driven only by its hunger for flesh. Victims turn into zombies when caught, thus the central dilemma of zombie films is that the survivor must outrun the zombie. Horror-based transformation, conveyed by loss of self-control is a state in which both monster and victim can find themselves, and neither is as powerful or as helpless as we expect. Horror fans and viewers may find humor in the horror precisely when the artifice is revealed.
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