ELISE BREDENBERG, Arts and Entertainment Editor

It’s Friday evening and people are gathering in the Atkinson Gallery for the exhibition Valley of the Deer. The Canadian born artist, Jillian McDonald, has put together an art show with inspiration from the Scottish highlands.

“Well, I had the opportunity to go to Scotland for three months, to north eastern Scotland, to a place called Dufftown, for an artist residency, which means they host you as an artist to make a new project.”

Thanks to the fascinating landscapes, McDonald ended up staying in Scotland for nine months, instead of the three she had planned.

“And I originally had a plan to make a short, maybe five, seven minute video with a deer in a foggy landscape, and that is all I kind of had in my head. But when I got to Scotland I spent the first month and a half of just traveling around and quickly discovered that every turn of the wheel the landscape changed really dramatically. Unlike North America, where I am from,” said McDonald.

The exhibition consisted of a three-piece video installation, wall paintings and some paper drawings.

The video art portrayed people with animal faces interacting with different parts of nature; like dancing in the woods or washing clothes in the lake.

McDonald is known for her horror-inspired art, but her fascination for the genre started not too long ago.

“My interest in horror movies started in 2005 when I was writing a grant proposal for a new body of work, and I could never previous to that understand how people can be thrilled by horror..[..]. So I started this research thinking about why and how it can be that people feel that..[..]. It kind of slowly started from research and turned into a fascination,” said McDonald.

People of all different ages enjoyed the art and afterwards came together on the Atkinson balcony to mingle and enjoy the complimentary buffet and the Santa Barbara sunset.

“Also, here at City College we work within the art department and we strive to show all the different media that we teach in the art department and one of the media that we teach is 4D, so time-based work. And so I knew that I wanted to do a time-based piece and I knew I had been watching her work for a long time. And so I was able to contact her through Facebook and ask if she’d be interested in the show – and luckily she was,” said Sarah Cunningham.

Not only could the exhibition be viewed via projected images, but the viewers also had the opportunity to interact with the art on a deeper level, thanks to an augmented reality app called Layar.

After the exhibition finished up, a campus tour was offered to really experience the Layar app and interaction with the art.

By holding up your phone in certain spots around campus you could see different pieces, like this one, called Ghost Reindeer.

Not only did the exhibition have one-of-a-kind features but it was also a unique experience for the artist.

“The way in which it may have changed me as an artist is it’s the longest piece I’ve ever made, by far. It made me fall in love with Scotland and want to try to get back there. I ended up staying nine months instead of three months,” said McDonald.

The Valley of the Deer exhibit will be at Atkinson Gallery from January 23 to February 20.