The Painterly, Provocative Art That Uses Humble Plastic Bags

Photo: Hugo McCloud, “golden hour,” 2019, Courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly, New York,



Photo:

Hugo McCloud, “golden hour,” 2019, Courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly, New York, Hugo McCloud, Collection of Michael Hoeh

Known for his inventive work that transforms humble materials via labor-intensive techniques, American artist Hugo McCloud, 41, has always been interested in, as he puts it, “finding beauty in things that are overlooked.”

From June 7, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, is staging McCloud’s first solo museum show, surveying the past seven years of his career. On display will be McCloud’s alchemical way with materials, whether metal, tar, foil or—as in golden hour (above)—plastic bags. It took him years to perfect his process, using an iron to fuse bits of plastic to a panel to painterly effect.

Another shift is his use of figuration, taking as subjects ordinary workers, like bike deliverymen. “Whether or not they’re people I’ve actually photographed myself, they’re people I’ve seen, especially in my travels,” says McCloud, who has spent most of the past year and a half at the home and studio he’s building in Tulum, Mexico. “There’s something beautiful about the acts that they’re doing. And what these images express is the humanity and hope in their willingness to do whatever it takes to survive.” thealdrich.org.

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