Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Seeking Beauty in Decay

“My work, whether it’s art or design,
is about perfection within imperfection.”

Hugo McCloud

The American designer turned artist Hugo McCloud is very much a hands on sort of person and as the demand for his fine art work grows it is highly unlikely that he will be employing assistants any time soon.

It was this creative involvement with his work that prompted his shift in disciplines. As he told Complex Magazine last year “The thing with design is, the only creative part is the initial design. I felt with fine art I could change at any point in time, and that's really how my paintings are. They usually start off with one idea, and they're completely different by the time they’re finished.”

His industrial design background also influences his choice of unconventional materials for his paintings (“Canvas wasn’t my thing”) along with an approach that reflects his building trade associations. As his website declares “Such materials include copper sheets, wire clothes, tar-paper, as well as other discarded construction based materials, which are traditionally overlooked as usable materials. McCloud's design and construction background, combined with his urban architectural influences of squatter camps, shanties, barrios and natural decay, has helped to create his own distinct and unique artistic vocabulary.”

A vocabulary, about which The Cool Hunting website has said, “McCloud stands out as a self-taught artist who explores the textures of waste and the urban environment. His large-scale wall pieces present a striking mosaic of patinas. Restricted to found materials and focused on a combination of pure texture and color, the artist nevertheless creates surfaces that have an almost whimsical quality to them.”

And whilst the whimsicality of the work attracts there is a more profound intent to be explored. As McCloud says “In my work it is always about trying to create this balance between the beauty in how things fall apart, the beauty in how things decay. I always look at it as related to life. As we grow up and we age, we’re falling apart. We’re continually, daily falling apart when you really think about it. It's sad, but it’s the truth.”

McCloud’s debut exhibition in the UK is on show at London’s The Art Club until August. 

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