Born in Palo Alto California in 1980, Hugo McCloud is one of the most prolific artists working today. In a career that has now spanned more than fifteen years, McCloud's work has quickly evolved through a process of restless experimentation, bringing inventiveness and fearlessness to the act of making. McCloud is engaged in an ongoing quest to elevate and master diverse methodologies, and the array of subjects his work addresses. An abiding, unifying theme is his preoccupation with finding beauty in the everyday.
Self-taught with a background in industrial design, McCloud’s practice is unrestricted by classical, academic tenets. He has gravitated toward materials that could be considered abject, including roofing materials, solder, and single-use plastic bags. Drawing inspiration from the rawness of the urban landscape, McCloud creates rich, large-scale abstract paintings by fusing unconventional industrial materials with traditional pigment and woodblock printing techniques. McCloud’s recent figurative work touches on notions of class, particularly through his use of plastic bags. His investigation into plastic began while traveling in India and seeing multi-color polypropylene plastic sacks everywhere. Observing the downcycle of these bags from their creation, to the companies that purchased them for the distribution of products, to the trash pickers in Dharavi slums, McCloud saw how this ubiquitous material passed through the hands of individuals at every level of society.
Responding to this material, McCloud developed a unique working process by which pieces of the variously hued plastics are collaged together, sometimes using thousands of pieces to create a single composition. At the level of their material and subject matter, these representational works address issues concerning the economics of labor, geopolitics and the environmental impact of plastic. In them, McCloud continues his practice of incorporating industrial materials into his work, using plastic as a tool to better understand our similarities and differences as a human race; to connect to our environment; and to contribute to reversing the negative impact of our carbon footprint.
McCloud has been the subject of solo exhibitions at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, The Arts Club, London and Fondazione 107, in Turin, Italy. He has also been featured in group exhibitions at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia, the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, and The Drawing Center, New York. His work is in the collections of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of the Arts, The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, the Brooklyn Museum, the Mott Warsh Collection, and The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection.
Hugo McCloud lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
Hugo McCloud at The Museum of Contemporary Art, April 27, 2022
Art Basel Unlimited 2021, Art Basel Films - Hugo McCloud, The Burden of Man
Virtual Curator Talk: Hugo McCloud and Curator Marshall N. Price, February 18, 2021
Hugo McCloud with Lyle Rexer: New Social Environment #233, Brooklyn Rail, February 12, 2021
Virtual Curator Talk: Hugo McCloud, from where i stand, February 4, 2021
Hugo McCloud and Sean Kelly in conversation, January 28, 2021
Hugo McCloud - Burdened, Sean Kelly Gallery, January 2021
Hugo McCloud - Virtual Studio Visit with Larry Ossei-Mensah, December 2, 2020
A Quality Cut With Hugo McCloud | Barneys New York x Blind Barber, Mar. 1, 2016
Blouin ArtInfo: Hugo McCloud Takes His Place in the Art World, Jun. 18, 2014