How Artist Hugo McCloud Is Taking Metal to New Heights
Although crafted out of quotidian materials such as tar paper, plastic, wood, and wrought metal, Hugo McCloud’s lustrous paintings are anything but rough-hewn.
His surfaces glisten with soft patinas and frost-like foil layered with washes of rich color, often basic house paint applied by spray gun.
“Because my work is labor-intensive and uses everyday materials, I spend a lot of time considering the social economics behind how our culture assesses value,” says the Bay Area–born Brooklyn artist, who often takes images abstracted from art-historical references and couture spreads and stamps or veils them with paint or aluminum leaf.
McCloud has been prolific since his big break in 2012. He’s had solo shows at Turin’s Luce Gallery and nearly annual exhibitions at New York’s Sean Kelly Gallery, the last of which saw him transform an entire warehouse in Bushwick, Brooklyn, into a temporary gallery outpost during the Armory Show, the large contemporary art fair held in New York each March. There, the artist debuted his latest “Metal Paintings,” soldered bronze panels treated with chemicals and toned with a blowtorch to create darkly luminous striations.
His career is only gaining steam. High-profile collectors such as that of real estate mogul Martin Margulies and Pamela Joyner—a connoisseur of “Afropolitan abstraction”—have added McCloud to their holdings.
McCloud is bringing brighter, more vibrant iterations of his metal paintings to his first show with Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, opening July 21.
“I’m playing with more color and manipulations of patina,” he says. “There’s a sense of the unknown in the work that I still want to explore, a new way of bringing beauty to light.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2018 Summer Issue under the headline Seeking Beauty. Subscribe to the magazine.