Hugo McCloud: Put in Place

There’s beauty in the normalcy of things.  Meeting artist Hugo McCloud on a rainy night in Chelsea would have been a routine encounter, if it weren’t for the series of wondrous happenings that have since catapulted his journey.  On the heels of exhibitions at MoCADA, Brooklyn, and Luce Gallery in Torino, Italy, McCloud unveils Put in Place - a new body of work from his block printing series at Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, New York. 

The tactile and heavy-duty element to McCloud’s work, by no coincidence, comes from a process full of poetic expression.  The artist describes his running regimen in Bushwick, NY as a quest for new life found in discarded objects.  From junk mattresses and furniture, to scrap metals and paint, McCloud uses non-traditional media to examine notions of abandoned beauty.  

The exhibit Put in Place is both a window into this artist’s surroundings and a reflection of our own beautiful imperfections.  His travels to Mumbai, India, inspired the application of traditional block printing in this series.  Using modified bitumen (similar to tar paper) as a canvas and asphalt exterior coating as base paint, McCloud’s raw materials, however, were discovered while cleaning his Brooklyn studio’s rooftop.

The laboriously repetitive and manual nature of block printing leaves traces of human error in the show, which appear in stark contrast to the Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld project space – a formal townhouse, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  Using the existing classical wall-mouldings and panels as decorative framing for his contemporary abstract pieces, McCloud created Put in Place special for this site.  The venue’s highbrow architecture foils his study of industrialized and utilitarian materials, and challenges expectations of perceived value.

When asked about what’s next, McCloud explains, “After this show, I’ll be heading to Mexico.  I want my artistic expression to be a part of my environment, so can’t just stay at my Bushwick studio if the work is to evolve.  I need to continuously inspire myself and find new sources by changing the context.”       

Put in Place is on view through June 5, 2014 at Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld (5A East 78th Street, New York).

Hugo McCloud (1980) was born in Palo Alto, California, and currently lives and works in New York. Recent exhibitions include Muted Noise, Luce Gallery, Turino; Pattern Recognition, MoCADA Museum, Brooklyn, New York; from The Mind of Mateo Mize, ArtNowNY, New York; and Young Curators, New Idea IV, Beautiful Refuse: Materiality, Meulensteen Gallery, New York.