Michele O'Marah, Tim Jackson, and David Jones: Sister Gallery

By Brooks, Amra | Artforum International, January 2007 | Go to article overview

Michele O'Marah, Tim Jackson, and David Jones: Sister Gallery


Brooks, Amra, Artforum International


In their video Faustus's Children, 2006, Michele O'Marah and collaborators Tim Jackson and David Jones draw from a variety of sources, including Alfred Hitchcock's Rope, 1948, Whit Stillman's Metropolitan, 1990, and John Guare's play Six Degrees of Separation, 1990, to create a tense supernatural thriller. Their primary text, however, is Donna Tartt's bestselling novel A Secret History, 1992, in which a group of classics students murder one of their pals at an elite New England college.

Like O'Marah's earlier video Valley Girl, 2002, Faustus's Children is concerned with the appropriation of familiar stories, so while its screenplay is original, much of its language has been lifted. Faustus's Children was shot entirely in O'Marah's Los Angeles studio, and the mostly handmade set, which includes a papier-mache forest and the interior of a country cabin, was displayed in the main gallery. The cabin, which echoes a luxurious vacation home, features a wall of papier-mache ducks, a brick fireplace with a fake fire, faux wood floors, and orange plaid wallpaper made of cut paper, all painstakingly crafted by the artist. The color scheme is psychedelic, with vivid purple and orange walls and a lime green satin brocade sofa which combine to evoke the creepy decor of the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980). The eerie sound track by Jones and Kelly Marie Martin, which also features songs by Nina Simone and Fairport Convention, accompanies the characters' discussion of good and evil and eternal life while they drink themselves into oblivion.

The opening scene shows four men strangling their victim, Richard, in the forest. …

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