By Haley Ryan
The queen puts on makeup in a dark corner of an empty building, a fluorescent light casting shadows on her face as she paints her lips a deep red.
She adds a final touch to her hair then opens a door, stepping into the light to face her public.
Interesting displays have been popping up in the empty windows of the historic Roy Building at 1658 Barrington St. of late, including a real-live monarch.
”She’s a little snooty, the queen,” said artist Becka Viau of the character she plays for her performance art piece.
“It’s just to sort of throw people off and make them think twice about their pedestrian experience downtown, especially the vacancies on Barrington.”
Viau said she wanted to explore people’s idea of “queenliness” and create discussions about the monarchy in Canada or simply “pull people back to their childhood … or dressing up.”
Other exhibits include TV monitors displaying extreme close-ups of eyes and a moustached-mouth, as well as ceramic shells and fish-like creatures hanging from the ceiling.
“People are constantly stopping at the windows and looking in, and that sort of thing really adds to the vibrancy of any core of a city,” said Scott Saunders, exhibit organizer.
Saunders took his window-gallery idea to StarFish Properties after he grew tired of looking at the Roy’s papered-over, boring storefront.
He plans on bringing all types of art to the windows, including a performance team making avant garde music, who will take Viau’s spot early next week.
“A lot of people that are just wandering around the downtown of any city, any urban core, are not necessarily people you would ever see caught dead in an art gallery,” Saunders said.
“To suddenly interrupt the urban environment with these kind of found-art spaces … becomes fascinating for your average individual who’s just moving along, doing their thing.”
Saunders said he plans on rotating his work and those of local artists until the building is torn down.
“It could be eight months, 12 months, or more than that,” Saunders said. “We’re riding it until then though.”