Paintings are always objects within a system of objects. My paintings are firmly anchored in the contemporary life of reproduction, symbolism, and description. My paintings aestheticize their subjects and function on social and political terms that go beyond the stakes of authentic expression. Through my work, I interrogate the politics, contrivances and language of painting in order to locate my complicity in its system of functions.
I employ a wide range of marks, symbols, motifs, palettes and forms in an expressive, wet-on-wet technique that blurs and blends elements together into compositions. This explosion of marks and gestures infuses my painterly surfaces with a playful, spirited abstractness. Painterly gestures and symbols combine with sculptural layers of wood, cloth, paper and other recognizable materials to emphasize the art object’s literal and material origin. The painting’s construction preserves its commoditized dimension and upends conventional, illusory space, producing a politic that pushes away from the surface and intrudes into our world.
I work with store-bought materials that I assemble into fractured shapes and unconventional pictorial spaces. I use painting’s sacred position on the wall to suggest an uncanny relationship to the form of the mirror, the window, the door and the shrine.
My practice, which encompasses an expanded field of painting and image making, dissects photographic and painterly form, scrambling text and re-aligning content in a way that produces new breaks in legibility and new understandings. My work combines an analytic approach with my interest in the conditions of history and the broader social sphere.
Mike Cloud is an American painter living and working in Chicago, Illinois. He earned his M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art and his B.F.A. from the University of Illinois-Chicago. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at P.S.1, NY; the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Slovak Republic; Honor Fraser Gallery, CA; Thomas Erben Gallery, NY; Good Children Gallery, LA; Marianne Boesky Gallery, NY; White Columns, NY; Max Protetch, NY; Apexart, NYC. Cloud has been reviewed in the New York Times, Art in America, Art Review and featured in
the publication Painting Abstraction by Bob Nickas, published by Phaidon Press. His awards include the inaugural Chiaro Award from the Headlands Center for the Arts, an artist Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Barry Schactman Prize in Painting from the Yale University School of Art
as well as the Grace Holt Memorial Award in African American Issues from the University of Illinois, Chicago. His work is held in private and public collections including The Bronx Museum (New York, NY), Lincoln Center (New York, NY) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY). Cloud has lectured extensively on his work and contemporary theoretical art issues at the Jewish Museum, Mason Gross
School of the Arts at Rutgers University, Yale University, Cooper Union, Bard College, Kansas City Art Institute and the University of New Orleans. He is currently an assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
(Image courtesy of the artist)