NEWS ADVISORY: Fear as Entertainment – Horror Films Inspire Videos and Drawings at Downtown Manhattan’s Fingesten Gallery by Artist Jillian Mcdonald

“Body Count,” a solo show of recent videos and drawings by video and performance artist Jillian Mcdonald, will be on view just east of City Hall in Pace University’s Peter Fingesten Gallery October 11 through November 19.

“Body Count” to be on view near City Hall Oct. 11 through Nov. 19

NEW YORK, NY – “Body Count,” a solo show of recent videos and drawings by video and performance artist Jillian Mcdonald, will be on view just east of City Hall in Pace University’s Peter Fingesten Gallery October 11 through November 19.

McDonald, who regularly exhibits and wins awards in New York and abroad, is an art professor at Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. The new exhibition focuses on one of her long-time fascinations, the canon of American horror film and its mechanisms of “fear as entertainment.” Unlike contemporary horror film itself, however, Mcdonald’s work avoids extreme gore and violence in favor of stripped-down narrative, plot, and archetypes. Research plays an important role in her process, which involves reading film theory, watching popular films, and exploring fan culture.

“Field of the Dead and Undead” (2011), for instance, is a high definition video filmed in northern California in which actors aged 20-70 enter a foggy field one by one, “die,” then stagger off as zombies. Other zombies aimlessly haunt the gloomy field. The actors were all given a simple instruction, shot separately, and composited together to lend their appearances an other-worldly quality. The work is featured on the cover of the new book “Better Off Dead The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human” (Fordham University Press).

Referencing Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” in which a young boy predicts “redrum” (murder) before a hotel elevator bursts with blood and mayhem ensues, the video RedRum (2010) has a haunted theme. Filmed in Buffalo, New York with a group of teenagers, the scenes take us through a cavernous home where blood – a predominant horror-film prop – drips from faucets, runs down mirrors, and pools on stairs. This blood appears disembodied until the camera slowly reveals its haunted source– visiting neighboring houses that also drip with blood, suggesting a murderous streak.

“All the Zombies in ‘Day of the Dead’” (2011) is a drawing of all of the zombies, in order of appearance, from the George Romero film.

WHO: Video and performance artist Jillian Mcdonald

WHAT: “Body Count” exhibit

WHERE: Peter Fingestin Gallery, Pace University downtown Manhattan campus, One Pace Plaza, B Level

WHEN: Oct. 11 – Nov. 19; Opening Tues. Oct. 11, 5:00 – 7:00pm
Gallery Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 12:00pm-4:00Ppm, Thursday: 12:00pm-6:00pm and by appointment. Call (212) 346-1894.

About McDonald

Mcdonald was recently awarded a Canada Council for the Arts Media Arts Production Grant. She earned an MFA from Hunter College and a BFA from the University of Manitoba. She teaches animation, design for the Internet, digital design and performance art at Pace.

Often working in digital media, she is a founding director of Pace University’s Digital Gallery. In her performance-based media art, she is interested in the cult of celebrity, the fantasy that buoys extreme fandom, as well as the mechanisms of fear at work in horror films.

Mcdonald’s recent solo shows and projects in New York have included work at Moti Hasson Gallery and Jack the Pelican Presents. In the past few years she has shown at The Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo, , Rosenthal Gallery in San Francisco, La Sala Narañja in Valencia, Spain; YYZ in Toronto; and Gallery One One One in Winnipeg. Her work has been included in group exhibitions and festivals at venues including The Whitney Museum’s Artport, The Sundance Online Film Festival, The Krannert Museum in Illinois, and MMOCA in Wisconsin, and abroad,The Edith Russ Haus for Media Art in Oldenburg, Germany, Year Zero One in Toronto, Manifestation d’Art Internationale de Québec, La Biennale de Montréal, 404 International Festival of Electronic Art in Argentina, and the Centre d’Art Contemporain de Basse-Normandie in France.

Mcdonald has received grants from The New York Foundation for the Arts, The Canada Council for the Arts, Soil New Media, Turbulence, The Gunk Foundation, The Experimental Television Center,, and Pace University. She lectures regularly in North America and Europe about her work and has attended numerous residencies including Lilith Performance Studio in Sweden, The Banff Center for the Arts in Banff, The Headlands Center for the Arts in California, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Program, La Chambre Blanche in Québec, and The Western Front in Vancouver. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Flash Art, Border Crossings, Art Papers, The Globe and Mail, and The Toronto Star, among others. A discussion of her work appears in several books including “Stalking” by Bran Nicol, “Art and the Subway” by Tracy Fitzpatrick, and the forthcoming “Better Off Dead” edited by Sarah Laura.

For more on Mcdonald’s work visit

Peter Fingesten Gallery (NYC)

The Peter Fingesten Gallery, run by the art department on Pace University’s New York campus, opened in the spring of 2005. Located next to the Eddie Layton Student Union, on Level B at 1 Pace Plaza, the gallery exhibits the work of professional artists as well as students, faculty, and Pace alumni. With the goal of integrating the gallery into the network of downtown New York art institutions, it holds six shows annually. For more information, contact at (212) 346-1894.

About Pace University

For 105 years, Pace University has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.


Cara Cea,, 914-906-9680