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Hugo McCloud | Burdened

January 22 – February 27, 2021

Burdened, Hugo McCloud’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, features all new work created over that last nine months while McCloud quarantined at his studio in Mexico. Composed entirely of the simultaneously ubiquitous and overlooked industrial material: single use plastic bags, this new body of work address humanistic issues concerning the economics of labor, geopolitics, the environmental impact of the material he employs in his work and finding beauty in the everyday.

McCloud is well known for his abstract paintings which engage materials often omitted in fine art practices: tar paper, soldering material, acidic abrasives; things the artist refers to as “discarded, disregarded and devalued.” Continuing his process of utilizing the overlooked, the works in the three new series included in the exhibition are meticulously composed of hundreds, even thousands, of small cut-out pieces of varied hues of plastic--the “paint” that comprises his palette--collaged one by one on panel.

hm-314

 

come and go, 2020

single use plastic mounted on panel
70 x 60 inches (177.8 x 152.4 cm) HM-314

Traveling in India, I saw multi-color polypropylene plastic sacks everywhere and started to understand their downcycle, from the companies that purchased and used them to distribute their products, down to the trash pickers in Dharavi slums. The idea that these plastic bags would always be around—never biodegrade—interested me, curious about the hands and lives of the many people they would pass through.
- Hugo McCloud

Through his process of recycling materials to create these works, McCloud addresses the economics of labor through plastic itself and how it is passed through the hands of individuals at every level of society. He questions how down-cycling applies to politics worldwide, to inequality, migration and the resources available to us.

Originally drawing inspiration from photographs of people he encountered during his travels, McCloud was required to re-tool and source images from the internet when COVID-19 related travel restrictions were put in place early last year.

archival images
                                                                  

 

308 - with all your might

 

with all your might, 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
55 x 84 inches (139.7 x 213.4 cm) HM-308
 

One series of paintings focuses on workers performing their daily tasks. The subjects, their gazes concealed or averted, are engaged in labor critical to their survival, whether collecting refuse, transporting fruit and other goods, or recycling oil. McCloud states that the works in this exhibition are “about the idea of the person that is burdened in life trying to survive or trying to make ends meet or trying to do whatever they're doing. I think in some regards, everybody is burdened in their own way and has their own burdens in life.”

Pineapple Express

 

Pineapple Express, 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
71 x 61 inches (180.3 x 154.9 cm) HM-306

I am creating portraiture, but I’m also depicting a subject that doesn't have time to stand still. These people are on a mission to go and do; they're in physically uncomfortable positions; they don't have time to stand still and have a portrait taken of themselves nor do I think that is the right thing to do. 
- Hugo McCloud
 

Having traveled to Morocco many times, McCloud became aware of the women locally referred to as “mules,” human porters who carry extraordinary loads of goods across the border on their backs, because they are only allowed to bring what they can carry. McCloud elaborates, “Understanding the border through maps and topography and images of these sacks, I collaged the imagery and abstracted the reality of the hardship these humans go through to bring it to light and open the dialog of humanitarianism through an alternative avenue.” For more information about the images that inspired McCloud, please visit narratively.com

hm-311

 

together, 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
55 x 84 inches (139.7 x 213.4 cm) HM-311

bundled truths

bundled truths, 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
55 x 84 inches (139.7 x 213.4 cm) HM-312
 

bundled truths detail

I continue to find beauty in all that is going on in the world: the crazy gap between the haves and have-nots, social values, politics, race and the environment. 
- Hugo McCloud

hm-315

 

take a seat, 2020

single use plastic mounted on panel
70 x 60 inches (177.8 x 152.4 cm) HM-315

This is a material that has forced me to slow down and think, to consider and weigh all options. Process has always been the fundamental starting point for my work. I cannot say where any of these bodies of work will lead and I cannot allow myself to be concerned with that in this moment.
- Hugo McCloud

hm-316

max speed 4mph, 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
70 x 60 inches (177.8 x 152.4 cm) HM-318

 

over easy, 2020

single use plastic mounted on panel
70 x 60 inches (177.8 x 152.4 cm) HM-317


purple haze, 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
70 x 60 inches (177.8 x 152.4 cm) HM-316
 

13&19

 

full service, 2020

single use plastic mounted on panel
70 x 60 inches (177.8 x 152.4 cm) HM-313


retirement, 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
70 x 60 inches (177.8 x 152.4 cm) HM-319

 

This is the least action-oriented body of work I’ve created. Before I commit to fusing a piece of plastic to the base, I have to build up those multiple layers in my head, first, because once it’s adhered, there is no taking it off.  And there's no covering it up if it’s not right. Plastic is a very interesting material because it is as thin as it is strong, meaning that you could put one small piece of plastic down and you could put 20 other layers over it and you will still see the first piece. 
- Hugo McCloud

hm-322

 

eggs in a basket, 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
48 x 36 inches (121.9 x 91.4 cm) HM-320

 

platano macho, 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
48 x 36 inches (121.9 x 91.4 cm) HM-322

hm-321

reach, 2020

single use plastic mounted on panel

48 x 36 inches (121.9 x 91.4 cm) HM-321

In another series, McCloud depicts images of the Mediterranean refugee crisis, migrants adrift at sea, attempting to make the perilous journey to another country to escape the unbearable conditions in their own homeland—risking their lives in the hope of a better future for them and their families.

For further information about this ongoing crisis, please click to read the Time Magazine article, Rescue at Sea

310 boat detail

the day before friday the 12th, 2020

single use plastic mounted on panel
55 x 84 inches (139.7 x 213.4 cm) HM-310

If thousands of people are constantly getting on rafts, with no life vests and over-populating that raft to the point where any logical person would know that it's not going to make it across that sea, yet still decide that's a better decision than staying in their homeland, I would say that something is wrong. 
- Hugo McCloud

hm-309

 

a mirage of hope , 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
55 x 84 inches (139.7 x 213.4 cm) HM-309

 

scattered dreams, 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
55 x 84 inches (139.7 x 213.4 cm) HM-307

McCloud refers to another series of more intimate, elegiac images of plants and flowers as his “quarantine drawings.” He notes that as the lockdown continued and we were all continually being bombarded with negative news and our movements were increasingly restricted, it was important for him to “find a moment in each day of something that was in a sense still beautiful and still light.”

june 8


March 28, 2020, 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
painting: 20 x 15 7/8 inches (50.8 x 40.3 cm)
framed: 21 1/2 x 17 3/8 x 2 1/8 inches (54.6 x 44.1 x 5.4 cm) HM-327
 

July 27-28, 2020, 2020
oil paint, oil stick and single use plastic mounted on panel
painting: 20 x 15 7/8 inches (50.8 x 40.3 cm)
framed: 21 1/2 x 17 3/8 x 2 1/8 inches (54.6 x 44.1 x 5.4 cm) HM-334

May 5, 2020, 2020
single use plastic mounted on panel
painting: 20 x 15 7/8 inches (50.8 x 40.3 cm)
framed: 21 1/2 x 17 3/8 x 2 1/8 inches (54.6 x 44.1 x 5.4 cm) HM-330

Hugo 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, The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, and the Pizzuti 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 Hugo McCloud: from where i stand at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. 

Hugo McCloud lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and Tulum, Mexico. 

Exhibition Film

 

Exhibition Programming 

Virtual Curator Talk: Hugo McCloud and Curator Marshall N. Price, February 18, 2021

 

 Virtual Curator Talk: Hugo McCloud and Marshall N. Price, Curator at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
Thursday, February 18, 2021, 3 PM EST
To register, click here

 

 

 

ARTLAND 3D Exhibition Walkthrough

 

 

Hugo McCloud with Lyle Rexer: New Social Environment #233, The Brooklyn Rail, February 12, 2021                     

 

Virtual Curator Talk: Hugo McCloud, from where i stand, In Conversation with Richard Klein, February 5, 2021

Hugo McCloud and Sean Kelly in conversation, January 28, 2021

 
Hugo McCloud - Virtual Studio Visit with Larry Ossei-Mensah, December 2, 2020

 

Exhibition Press