bill killebrew

Bill Killebrew is a Nashville native with a BFA in painting and printmaking from Middle Tennessee State University.  The deep and personal poetry in Killebrew’s oil paintings springs from the beauty of daily life seen in his figures, interiors, landscapes and still lifes. A particular element of light or a distinguishing spatial feature guides his choice of subject. Killebrew’s work is in public and private collections throughout the southeast.




BFA – Painting & Printmaking – Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN – 1975

One-Person Exhibitions

2018 New Work by Bill Killebrew, Cumberland Gallery – Nashville, TN

2017 Blue Spiral 1 – Asheville, NC

2015 New Paintings by Bill Killebrew, Cumberland Gallery – Nashville, TN

2013 Parthenon Museum – Nashville, TN

2013 St Bernard’s, Nashville, TN

2010 Track 13 Gallery – Nashville, TN

1988 Rosewood Arts Center – Kettering, OH

1981 Sarratt Gallery – Nashville, TN

1980 Nashville Artist Guild – Nashville, TN

1979 Martin Wiley Gallery – Nashville, TN

1978Martin Wiley Gallery – Nashville, TN

Group Exhibitions

2017 Cumberland Gallery – Nashville, TN

2016 Cumberland Gallery – Nashville, TN

2016 Blue Spiral 1 – Asheville, NC

2014 The Butcher’s Daughter – Harlem, NY

2013 Cumberland Gallery – Nashville, TN

2010 Todd Gallery – MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN

1991 Rosewood Arts Center – Kettering, OH

1980 Martin Wiley Gallery – Nashville, TN

1980 Nashville Artists Guild – Nashville, TN

1980 Nashville Century III – Nashville, TN

1978 Martin Wiley Gallery – Nashville, TN

1977 Martin Wiley Gallery – Nashville, TN


2013       Delta Award – Delta Annual, Arkansas Arts Center
2012       100 Under 100 – Oxford American
1980       Purchase Award – Nashville Century II competition, John Canaday, Juror
1978       Purchase Award – Appalachian State University, Boone NC, Vito Acconci – Juror


Music City Center, Nashville Convention Center

Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, TN

Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC

The Tennessean, Nashville, TN

Alexander & Alexander Insurance, Nashville, TN

Historic Courthouse Collection, Nashville, TN

Mr. Zachary Liff

Mr. George Clarke



A family member who shall remain nameless once misinterpreted a song lyric to read “I am a Southerner of nothing in particular.” (The actual reading is “I am the son and heir…”)

When informed of his mistake he was insistent that his version was the better of the two. I agree, being Southern born but having lived nearly everywhere as a child. I find that the quality defined as Southern has become metaphorical and I am left with my upbringing by well-meaning family and an abstract sense of belonging to a place and time that no longer seems to exist.

Each of my pictures is a representation of this concept, time and place as a metaphor. All my painting is abstract. I was raised by an Expressionist and even while becoming a painter of things, I have gravitated toward and aesthetic allowing for the introduction of the picture as a natural object in its own right, rather than a description of nature. Any significance achieved in the course of painting the picture is a significance drawn from memory, from upbringing and shaping by others, from a place and set of manners and morality drawn from these sources and worked out in a non-objective methodology allowing these factors to come out. Like abstract thinking, perhaps in a daze. A pattern slowly rises to the surface and makes itself apparent; the thing left in and thought to be unimportant becomes the passage that anchor the entire piece. The color quality worked out with difficulty becomes the light quality suddenly remembered.