Man on the Beach
Rod MacKillop (06/15/1940-4/26/2016) was born in Northampton, Massachusetts and resided in Charlotte, North Carolina. He exhibited his work, both his paintings and sculptures, across the country in solo and group exhibitions, including a solo showing at the Asheville Art Museum in 1989, and at the Raleigh Contemporary Gallery in 1992. Additionally, his work was shown overseas on a number of occasions, such as the "Portrait of the South" exhibition in Rome, Italy. The subject matter of MacKillop's paintings are deeply psychological, and are expressions of the artist's feelings at a certain time. He painted when an emotion "struck" him. There is a sense that he is a cynically detached observer of his discomforting and somewhat fearful emotions, since he presents them in a slightly off-handed, objective manner. MacKillop completed a series of paintings that are overtly spiritual in tone, which include what he calls "floaters," or beings suspended neutrally in mid-air. The figures are clearly autobiographical in nature, and represent the shadows of his real self-aspects of his archetype in the Jungian sense. Presenting this shadow of himself to the world through his art is cathartic for MacKillop, as it makes the emotions more recognizable for both himself and others in the future. Despite the overwhelming male subject matter, the overall effect of the paintings is universal and androgynous. Often, a dog is displayed, although never prominently, to symbolize humans in their pure state, much like the Freudian 'id.' MacKillop's works are never overbearingly distressing as they use gentle colorations, and are often slightly humorous. His work is included in the permanent collections of the American Express Corporation, the Mint Museum of Art, Duke University, and the Asheville Art Museum, among others.