Today we go #IntheArchive to revisit Hugo McCloud’s special exhibition, Metal Paintings, for which we transformed a raw industrial space into Sean Kelly BK, March 9 – 18, 2018.
McCloud has been recognized for his sophisticated and exuberant use of color and innovative techniques in various bodies of work, typified by vibrant and at times reflective surfaces, and referred to as “stamped” and “veiled” paintings. The Metal Paintings signaled a dramatic and exciting departure for McCloud, both formally and aesthetically, while at the same time marking a return to utilizing materials and processes he had first explored in the mid 2010s. Settling into his first studio in Bushwick in 2008, McCloud was surrounded by the tools and language familiar from his training in industrial design. His first “paintings” reflected that environment, comprising scrap metal, solder, chemical patinas, and welded materials. He would solder bronze panels together and then abrade the surface and treat it with ferric nitrate, cupric nitrate, iron oxide, or other acids. These chemicals were poured, sprayed, wiped and heated with a torch to create rich variations in tone and color.
As McCloud notes, “a sander and chemicals became my paint and brush.” Re-approaching these materials with the time and experience resulted in these beautiful, evocative, and powerful works which reveal his hands-on experience with materials. Inspired by the rawness of his surroundings and the urban landscape, McCloud’s process is instinctive and physical; he literally tames his unconventional materials, working on the floor, sanding, hammering and torching their surfaces, subduing their toughness into something approaching delicacy.