Jo-Anne Balcaen – Montreal, Quebec.
Jillian Mcdonald – Brooklyn, New York.
Curated by David LaRiviere
January 16 to February 21, 2009
(scream) is a two-person video installation and collaborative billboard presentation. While Jo-Anne Balcaen studies the scream from the perspective of ecstasy, Jillian Mcdonald approaches the same subject as a device in horror films. This exhibition project arises from an affinity that both artists recognize in each other’s strategies, and is thus culminated from a long-distance creative dialog. The 3-D “scream” prominently featured on the exhibition invitation, as well as the billboard gracing the PAVED Arts’ facade, was arrived at as a moniker for the exhibition through their ongoing correspondence. It is most appropriate that this lower- case “scream” should appear in parenthesis, given that both artists hold up for scrutiny and investigation what is ordinarily a flash point of alarm. In this way the existential angst inherent to traditional artistic depictions of the scream is forsaken in favor of a more sociological, even pop-cultural level of inquiry.
Jillian Mcdonald’s video work entitled The Screaming challenges the horror movie genre’s damsel in distress by inverting the power dynamics and charging the scream with a potency that overcomes any would-be menace. In the artist’s words, “I insert myself into scenes from well-known horror films from the 1970s onward. My presence serves not as a self-portrait but as a zone of fantasy – my protagonist screams at the horror not out of helpless fear but with a powerful, sometimes destructive force that scares or even blows the monsters away.” (http://jillianmcdonald.net/projects/thescreaming.html)
Jo-Anne Balcaen’s Screaming Girls appropriates famous film images of teen-aged girls enraptured by rock ‘n’ roll performance. Stripped of sound, Balcaen’s subtle manipulation of this familiar pop adulation becomes a study of mass hysteria, oddly foreign to any kind of rationale that Beatlemania may have once produced. As the severity of the expression mounts, her video work draws on a still-contemporary phenomenon that in turn reflects upon a kind of fervor that the popular media is complicit in cultivating– and so the scream becomes an object of fascination. (http://www.joannebalcaen.ca/screaminggirls/)
The video work will be presented in the PAVED Arts gallery space concurrent to the mounting of a collaborative project for the street-side billboard– a text based work that will utilize old-school 3-D technologies. Both artists approach the scream as an extremity of popular media, and in the collaborative work the scale of the billboard retains their mutual flare for the cinematic.