Chicago-based artist Jesse McLean’s witty yet empathetic videos and installations examine the manipulative power of mass media while acknowledging her own complicit role as an impressionable viewer and consumer. Through selective, deliberate editing, her works isolate uncanny moments or phenomena—like YouTube videos of people singing Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” (the theme song from the 1997 film Titanic)—to uncover deeper insights into human behavior.
For her Front Room exhibition, McLean heightens the horror film genre’s classic trope of suspense. Her video Remote (2011) presents a compendium of appropriated and original imagery, along with equally banal sounds. McLean further throws the video’s atmospheric qualities into relief by installing black-painted picture frames and a black door in the gallery alongside the video. Taken together, these elements suggest how seemingly innocuous matter can become sinister and foreboding when framed within a horror-like context.
Jesse McLean: REMOTE is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Kelly Shindler, Assistant Curator.