Born in Palo Alto California in 1980, Hugo McCloud is one of the most prolific young artists working today. Self-taught with a background in industrial design, McCloud’s practice is unrestricted by classical, academic tenets. Drawing inspiration from the rawness and decay of the urban landscape, McCloud creates rich, large-scale abstract paintings and sculptural objects by fusing unconventional industrial materials — tar, bitumen, aluminum sheeting and oxidized steel plates — with traditional pigment and woodblock printing techniques. His approach is instinctive and physical, often working on the floor, sanding, hammering and torching his materials until a total metamorphosis takes place.
Hugo McCloud’s newest body of work touches on notions of class particularly through his use of plastic bags. His investigation into plastic began approximately five years ago after traveling to 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.
Sourcing his imagery from photographs of individuals working in developing countries these representational works address issues concerning the economics of labor, geopolitics and the environmental impact of plastic. McCloud continues his practice of incorporating industrial materials using plastic as a tool to unite people and better understand our similarities and differences as a human race; to connect our environment; and to contribute to reversing the negative impact of our carbon footprint.
McCloud has been the subject of solo exhibitions at The Arts Club, London and Fondazione 107, in Turin, Italy. He has also been featured in group exhibitions at 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. McCloud’s work is currently on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, Ohio.
In June of 2021 McCloud’s work will be the subject of a solo exhibition at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut.