Hugo McCloud’s “Palindrome”, currently on view at Sean Kelly Gallery, beautifully reiterates a common theme in his work: perfection in the imperfection. The use of found objects and the act of appropriation in the past century+ have forced us to reconsider the way we look at ordinary materials, generating a discourse between the objects and the viewer. Much like humans often struggle to find beauty within our flaws, McCloud invites viewers to embrace the charm of raw materials. Trained as an industrial designer, McCloud torches and hammers metal and applies woodblock printing to tarpaper to create large-scale abstract paintings. The exhibition is separated in two different spaces. In the front gallery are silver works made from aluminum, oil paint and tarpaper. The floral woodblock print treatment of the foil and tar add texture and depth to the industrial surfaces, with nuances of pigment throughout. In this body of work, McCloud extracts familiar materials from the urban context and offers them to viewers as objects of art. From the city streets to gallery walls, the value of these material changes as they are re-purposed as paintings. In the lower gallery, black paintings are constructed from aluminum foil, aluminum coating and oil paint on tarpaper. This environment juxtaposes the stench of a construction site and the stark white walls of an art gallery. Despite the odor, reminding viewers of the materials’ origins, McCloud successfully elevates coarse materiality to high art.
-Naana Frezel, Digital Intern