“I have done some paintings that are very textual,” McKim said. “One of them in the Horace Williams House exhibition has actual canvases on top of canvases, and it’s almost like a three-dimensional sculpture.”
McKim said his fondness of geometric painting stems in part from the avant-garde cubist movement of the early 20th century. This artistic movement focused on analytical and simplified geometric shapes, an approach that McKim brings to his work.
“I try to make my paintings kind of simple and direct, and I like them to have a really strong impact on the viewer,” McKim said.
Tama Hochbaum, co-chair of the arts program at the Horace Williams House, said McKim deeply impressed the panel that selects artists for solo exhibitions.
“We have a real mix of kinds of artists on our jury,” Hochbaum said. “We have about three or four painters on the committee, and they were all very impressed with George’s work.”
Hochbaum said one reason she connects with McKim’s work is because of his use of oil paint. Although Hochbaum is currently a photographer, she holds a master’s degree in painting and worked with oil paints for over 20 years.
“The way that he handles paint is, I can only call it delicious,” Hochbaum said.
When Hochbaum visited McKim’s gallery space, the environment reminded her of her painting experience.
“The whole room smelled like oil paint and the way I used to paint, so it felt really wonderful for me,” Hochbaum said.
This exhibition will be McKim’s second in Chapel Hill — the first was a solo exhibition in UNC’s Hanes Art Center in 1987.
McKim said the culture surrounding artists has changed drastically throughout his career.
“When I was in art school, it was in the early '70s and the general art world, which was defined by critics, was very much minimal abstraction,” McKim said.
However, McKim said abstract art is much more prevalent today, and artists have more creative license than when he was an art student.
“I think these days, there is really no ‘thing’ or movement that people feel they have to be a part of,” McKim said. “It’s a lot more free.”