Her love of animals and anger over the meat industry and hunting is plain. In printed signs, she reports: "130,000 American horses were slaughtered in 2008 . . . Remember this when you watch the Kentucky Derby and think horse racing is glamorous." She compares wearing a mink coat to making a coat out of a Labrador retriever. She asks, "If we can help deliver any of our fellow beings from suffering, why wouldn't we?"
MacDonald's style falls between naturalistic rendering and expressionist brushwork whipped up into impastos. She uses unusual chalky whites, blues, and reds to depict a pig with its throat slashed, eyes closed, and blood leaking from its nose and smiling mouth. But a curious thing happens with her emphasis on brushwork and color.
Her goal is to foster outrage — or at least empathy. This is most successful in the cow portraits or a painting of two deer nibbling in a snowy wood and a third stopped, with its head raised, warily watching us. There MacDonald begins to plumb something of the animals' personalities. But often the showy brushwork doesn't much reveal the critters as individuals or embody blood and suffering, but redirects our attention away from the animals and toward how craftily the paintings are made.
: Museum And Gallery
, Dan Talbot, Museums, AS220, More