Tell Me a Story

April 7 – 30, 2022

Tell Me a Story by artist M R McDonald features, but not exclusively, the notion of “story” or “narrative”. Rod Stewart has said that “every picture tells a story.” M R McDonald is certain that that is not true. Take the painting that is the title of this show, for example. Who is telling the story? To whom? Is there something in the painting that is the story? Is there something that provides or indicates what the story might be? Are there any symbols that might be helpful?

Is it possible for there to be no story? Would one want to say that the movement of one’s eyes as they explore the painting would constitute the, or a, story? Of course the eye seeks paths and balks, to some extent, at perceived obstacles, but does that really satisfy us? Or is it just too vacuous?

Our eyes, of course, naturally seek to make out images, particularly faces, from a jumble of lines and colors. It is likely the same impulse that urges us to project narratives or stories upon paintings and pictures. This tendency to look for stories is by no means a bad thing, as long as one does not become carried away by it. Many paintings are more fun if we lean into, at least tentatively, a narrative direction.

Tell Me a Story” will be on display at Gallery 110 from April 7 – April 30. The gallery is open to the public from 12PM to 5PM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and by appointment ( Or stop by during the Pioneer Square First Thursday Art Walk on April 7 from 4-8PM.

On the work of M.R. McDonald

A review of Tell Me a Story written by Saundra Fleming
April 29th, 2022 / Seattle, WA

What an interesting prospect…to ask a viewer whether his paintings contain stories or whether they really don’t. The tension between Mr. McDonald’s imagery and his titles seems to be where the action is for this observer. I experience a phantasmagorical and philosophical “massage” from these pieces. Tell Me A Story also brings the feeling that a kid can have when she doesn’t want mom or dad to leave her bedroom as the lights go out. The exquisite dovetail Mr. McDonald manages here, between a very sophisticated painting language and an existential heartbeat makes me a satisfied customer.

In Marry a Cloud, a medium scale oil painting, the temperature shifts in the blacks and reds as well as the fascinating abstract forms write “The Story”. He is a painter’s painter and this show is a great example of true freedom in ones work. That is no small task, as most artists will admit; and as this man brings with him a background in the study of Philosophy, he leaves me with a desire to sit down for a long intellectual and poetic tête-à-tête, painter to painter.

Come see for yourself. Tell Me a Story runs through 4/30/22 at Gallery 110 in Pioneer Square, Seattle.

– Saundra Fleming

Seattle, WA

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About gallery110

Gallery 110’s mission is to provide dynamic opportunities to established and emerging professional artists in an environment that encourages creative expression, experimentation, and collaboration. As a nonprofit organization, the gallery fosters artistic and professional connections between its associated artists and the arts community at large through creative dialogue, the presentation of challenging and enriching curated exhibitions, public opportunities, and collaborative projects.