MET Honors MacKillop Bequest

Rod MacKillop (1940-2016) made a generous and unanticipated bequest to the UUCC, prompting many of us to inquire further about his life and the significance the UUCC must have held for him. The MET Legacy Society held a reception in Freeman Hall following services on Sunday, April 30, to honor Rod and show some of his artwork.

Five paintings spanning Rod MacKillop's career: (left to right) Man with a Yellow Tie, 1977; Golden Gate Runner, 1979; Man in a Green Suit, 1983; Hat Man, 1985; Grey Self-Portrait, 2000.

Five paintings spanning Rod MacKillop’s career: (left to right) Man with a Yellow Tie, 1977; Golden Gate Runner, 1979; Man in a Green Suit, 1983; Hat Man, 1985; Grey Self-Portrait, 2000.

Rod was a native of Massachusetts, earning a B.A. at Tufts University and M.F.A. at the Boston Museum School, but he spent the majority of his adult life in Charlotte. Rod joined the art faculty of UNCC in 1973 and taught there for the next thirty years.  A university colleague of Rod’s reflects: “Rod was a very good painter and a generous soul. He understood the importance of genuine liberal education within, and as a complement to, whatever a student was trying to master, like painting. He was also very generous with his time and energies in building a young university.”

Rod was both a painter and a sculptor, whose works are included in permanent collections at the Mint Museum of Charlotte, Duke University and the Asheville Art Museum, among others. His paintings are described as both psychological and autobiographical, often depicting his own emotional state in a given moment. Rod said of his process: “Painting precedes articulation. I paint because I am stuck.” However personal his psychological explorations may be, the emotional themes he explores—vulnerability, uncertainty, isolation, regeneration—are, of course, universal. The late Jane Kessler, art curator, explained: “MacKillop’s work, replete with psychological inquiry, explores his own and our own states of being. And even his most distressing images are depicted with a gentle touch and sense of humor.”

We are grateful to Rod MacKillop for his generous legacy gift that enhances the UUCC’s ability to fulfill its mission and to touch individual lives in a deep and meaningful way.

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