Since Cezanne and then Cubism, painters have been giving space its own language of form, often using geometry. In the era of cyberspace such an investigation can take on an endless myriad of expressions. Larry McKim has stayed close to the Modernist preference for the definition of painting on its own terms, in the tradition of Abstract Expressionism. McKim's work is about the investigation of paint, its surface qualities, color interactions, and its particular way of defining form. It is also, perhaps more importantly, about giving space a voice.
McKim achieves the kind of orchestral harmony that exists in the best abstract painting. He envelopes line and form is symbiotically connected and at the same time separate planes of differing color. In McKim's work the surfaces are tactile and so dense that they create a kind of padded silence. Color is muted so as not to compete. We are left to contemplate the purity of each brush stroke as it quietly surfaces. The free float of form is worthy of the kind of indulgent gazes we give to the bottom of a pond through clear water or cells under a microscope. The subtlety of interaction is like the soft sounds that can emanate from silence.
Curator, Hunterdon Museum of Art
Clinton, New Jersey
Larry McKim is an abstract expressionist with a difference. His work is not a critique of Abstract Expressionism as much as it is a renovation. Having been seriously involved in many of the movements and technical processes which came afterward, his take on painting and printmaking is a judicial infusion into expressionism of many things that weren't around in the fifties. Conceptualism, for example, provides a slower pace and a restraint that invites close inspection. McKim also digs deep into his roots in the Pacific Northwest. Their abstract expressionism borrowed more from Eastern mysticism than it did from the hyperactivity of the East coast. All the same these works are about action. Texture, color, and mark, making each have their own overlapping tempo. Having lived with one of these works for a while, I am amazed at how it reinvents expressionism, how it grows and changes over time, how much I am learning from it.
Artist and Retired Art Professor
(Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University)
Larry McKim's seemingly "simple" gestures of paint on paper or canvas offer a lot to discover for the viewer. Upon closer investigation, you get to feel McKim enjoys breaking the rules...visual rules...while at the same time being quite comfortable using the established language of abstract art, such as form, compostion, etc. in his imagery. He builds this tension between the formality of structure and the intention to de-structuralize it in such a way as to develop it into a different visual logic. For example, the use of texture as a strong compositional element in juxtaposition to shape and color brings with it a sense of concrete materials randomly layered on a wall. McKim's abstract paintings push to question the equilibrium of the very elements it imposes. The obstensibly random stroke of paint is not so blind.
Director, Pierro Art Gallery
South Orange, New Jersey
Refining painting to its elements - line, shape, color, texture - New Jersey artist Larry McKim has created paintings not so much about painting as about the elemental shapes on which visual experience is based.
In his show at the Jadite Galleries, "Primary Laws", Mr. McKim explores the space between the collective iconography of elemental shapes, what he calls the "building blocks of all natural and manmade forms," and their formal abstraction. "Feelings of clarity and balance could be implied by my use of the square. I see it as reflecting an approach to the world, which is physical, scientific, and rooted in the Renaissance. Manipulating the shape of this form subverts these qualities with humor, movement or an organic quality," the artist says.
"Primary Laws" will be of particular interest to those charting developments in abstract painting in the work of artists for whom Modernism and Abstract Expressionism is as much an academic tradition as the Renaissance. Mr. McKim's works will appear in a solo show in New Jersey at Montclair State University. He has exhibited at Laval University in Quebec City and at and/or in Seattle, Washington, and has been the recipient of awards including those from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
New York, New York