THE PAINTINGS OF WILLIAM MCCULLOUGH
Vincent Van Gogh
"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"
William McCullough divides his time between his home in France and his farm in his home town of Kingstree SC. McCullough left his home state in 1968 to study at the Art Students League, and the National Academy of Art and Design in New York City. During his years in New York, McCullough studied with acclaimed realist painters Eric Eisenberger and Daniel Greene. He also had the opportunity to apprentice with Robert Brackman and John Koch. McCullough relocated to the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina where he honed his skills in landscape and still life painting. In the 80s the lure of the Lowcountry landscape prompted a move to Charleston. During his time in Charleston, McCullough taught at the Gibbes Museum Studio and earned national recognition for his work. He has earned renown for his modern realist paintings of interiors, still lifes, figures, and landscapes. They hang in Charleston bastions like the Cassique clubhouse at Kiawah Island, Roper St. Francis Hospital, and the Gibbes Museum of Art. His paintings are also in the permanent collections of the the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, and The Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, South Carolina. McCullough likes to paint places and objects that he knows very well. He has said “the best paintings are of subjects not ordinarily seen as glorious.” He never runs out of subjects to paint; Southern interiors, landscapes in France, New York, and the Carolinas
ARTICLE IN CHARLESTON MAGAZINE
Calling himself an “intimist,” McCullough says he paints “things I know very well.” Things like the corner of a porch, a saddle beside a galvanized bucket, and a doorway into a cluttered study. “The best paintings are of subjects not ordinarily seen as glorious,” he says.
REVIEW WILLIAM MCCULLOUGH
A LIFE LESS ORDINARY
BY NICK SMITH
May 24th 2006
Back home in South Carolina, a dearth of willing models led the artist to concentrate on rural landscapes. Examples like "Stephen's Branch Farm" indicate a tendency to romanticize his surroundings, with softer images and lighter, pastelly hues. As McCullough progressed, he grew more confident with his palette and strengthened his brushwork (the thick-layered oils of 2004's "Lent," with its gnarly, blasted tree and oil drum, are a good example).
Some subjects haven't changed at all in the past quarter century. 1975's "No Parking" shows a figure on a fractured sidewalk, the shadow of a large building suggesting a looming urban environment beyond the canvas. Fifteen years later in "Westendorff's Store," McCullough's technique has become smoother and more consistent, and he's confident enough to play with the colors of his subject. By placing an accentuated light brown and white building on a blue background, he creates a world that's less realistic than the '70s version. The lower angle of "Looking Up Cannon" from 2005 accentuates the sidewalk, walls, and gates, but the tone is optimistic; the grass is greener on this side of the millennium.
By showing the highs (McCullough's contemporary Charleston landscapes) and the lows (a few early pieces, some stiff-looking figurative work and patchy portraits like "The Blacksmith") of his life in art, Southern Painter instructs, entertains, and shows what an artist can achieve if he strives to depict the world around him in his own exceptional fashion.
PALMETTOPALOOZA: GREENVILLE COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART
Mar 25, 2015 — Sep 6, 2015
Kingstree resident William McCullough was commissioned to paint a series of landscapes featuring South Carolina locations associated with important African-Americans: Mayesville, the home of Mary McLeod Bethune; Florence, where William H. Johnson was born; and the site on Little Horse Creek near Edgefield, where David Drake created some of his classic pottery.