Mike Cloud

Born in 1974, in Chicago, USA.
Lives and works in Brooklyn, USA.


MFA, Yale University, School of Art, New Haven, USA

BFA, University of Illinois, School of Art, Chicago, USA

Residencies and Awards
Studio Residency, Marie Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, Brooklyn, USA
Artist Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York, USA
Chiaro Award Recipient, Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, USA
Artist-in-Residence,Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, USA

Artist-in-Residence, Muelensteen Art Centre, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Resident Artist, Center for Visual Communication, Miami, USA

Barry Schactman Prize in Painting, Yale University, School of Art, New Haven, USA

Grace Holt Memorial Award in African American Issues, Faculty Award in Art Education, University of Illinois, School of Art, Chicago, USA

Thomas Erben

Mike Cloud lays it on thick—in his paint application and in his symbolism. Layers of chunky oil paint cover every inch of canvas in the nine works that were on view here. Jewish stars, blood dia- monds, the Confederate ag and at least one swastika mixed and mingled with co ns, genitals, detached hands and feet and painted statements about impotence. Cloud staples canvas to the inside of stretchers, instead of stretching around them, so all the pieces are “framed.” His conspicuous brushstrokes, often roughly the width of a human hunger, emphasize the directness of a body’s forceful, persistent touch.

Much of the painted text, in particular, looks like it was carved with a nger into cake frosting. e words “Liberté, Égalité, Frater- nité” are painted along the three sides of a small triangular canvas in Traveling Barricade (2014), a freestanding object with one canvas perched like a sail on top of others laid at. Here, the French national motto has a hand-painted protest sign’s awkward combination of vehemence and provisionality— necessary, but only for the moment, as though it might easily be smoothed over, blended in or otherwise reabsorbed into the opaque surface. is feels appropriate for a phrase with a history that reads like the ultimate semiotic soap opera: political-philosophical interests wrangle over the evolving meanings and implications of three words. It’s the initial instance of ckle symbolism that this Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based artist took up in “Bad Faith and Universal Technique,” his rst solo exhibition at the gallery and his seventh in New York.

The paintings come in a range of sizes and shapes. Triangles, trapezoids and hexagons become increasingly complex through repetition and distortion; two trapezoids resemble the lid of a coffin Dialog of Growth (2013), for instance. Elsewhere, triangular canvases multiply into stars and diamonds, creating works that reverberate between the shaped supports and the painted content.

Everything converged in the 10-by-20-foot Removed Individual (2013), multiple canvases arranged to form a double Star of David. The perfect center is the diamond-shaped negative space between the stars, where Cloud has a canvas painted so that it resembles a gemstone with jagged facets. In rich sky blue over a ground of reds, yellows, pinks and oranges, the diamond shows off its “fire.” The stars themselves— one red, pink and white, the other yellow, brown and black—are inscribed with a grocery list of foods rendered in their respective colors: oranges, milk, ketchup, honey. Cloud’s awareness of the trouble with such tight identi cation between hue and object is manifested through his insistence on using color in an ever-fuid spectrum. From his inclusion of actual color scales (tones of blue in the lower left; a rainbow panel on the lower right) to the blending that occurs when wet paint of di erent hues meets (emphasized by globs wiped on his stretcher bars), one color is always becoming another.

Not unlike the star, the diamond is a prime example, for Cloud, of a natural form that also serves as a shape, a symbol and a commodity. The last role is explored in the painting Lesser Evil (2013), an irregular hexagon suggesting a cut stone. Written where the edges of the facets would be are compound words referring to the mining and selling of the gems to nance war (“blooddiamond,” “diamondgate”). With this exhibition, Cloud revealed the range of signi cations that can be connected to a single shape as well as the way diverse symbols are constructed from the same geometric material.

—Becky Brown, Art in America, January 2015
Group shows at Ceysson Gallery
Inflatable tear, New York
January 23 - February 24, 2018

Solo Exhibitions

Mike Cloud: The Myth of Education, Logan Center Exhibitions, Chicago, IL, curated by Yesomi Umolu

Paper Quilts, Olsen Gallery, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN
Bad Faith and Universal Technique, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, NY

Quiltmaking & Overproduction of Opposites, Meulensteen Gallery, New York, NY
Special Project: Mike Cloud, Good Children Gallery, New Orleans, LA

Agreement and Subjectivity, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY

A Eating Phylosophy, Center for Visual Communication, Miami, FL
Celebrating Black History Month, The Gallery at Lincoln Center, New York, NY

Systems, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, NB
Story Structure, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY

Special Project: Mike Cloud, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, NY

Mike Cloud, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY

Group Exhibitions

Inflatable Tear, Ceysson & Bénétière, New York, NY

Cyborg, Gallery Zurcher, New York, NY, curated by Will Corwin
Wind Chimes, Bannerette, Brooklyn, NY, curated by Shanna Waddel
love child, Ortega y Gasset, Brooklyn, NY, curated by Eleanna Anagnos
Looking Back/ The 9th White Columns Annual, White Columns, New York, NY, curated by Cleopatra's

IN ON, Heliopolis/Sun City Project Space, Brooklyn, New York, curated by Baris Gokturk
Saying Yes To Everything Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Prophetic Diagrams, Cheymore Gallery , Tuxedo Park, NY, curated by Will Corwin
doubleplusgood, Tuck Under Projects, Minneapolis, MN, curated by Caroline Kent

Come Together: Surviving Sandy, Year 1, Industry City, Brooklyn, NY, curated by Phong Bui
Dyeing Merging Multitasking, Ortega y Gasset Projects, Brooklyn, NY, curated by Leeza Meksin

Things: The Still Life in Contemporary Art, Delaware County Community College, Media, PA, curated by Bertha Gutman

The Death of Affect, Art Blog Art Blog, New York, NY, curated by Fran Holstrom & Jeffrey Scott Mathews
February Show, Ogilvy & Mather, New York, NY, curated by Heather Hart and Jun Lee

Looking Back, White Columns, New York, NY, curated by Bob Nickas

African Americana, Brennan Gallery, Jersey City, NJ curated by Kenya Robinson

XXL-Recent Large-Scale Paintings, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, curated by Marc Straus
Charismatic Abstraction, Albertine Monroe-Brown Gallery, Kalamazoo, MI, curated by Don Desmett

Unfathom, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY, curated by Stuart Krimco
Project Space: Jesse Chapman / Mike Cloud, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY, curated by Amy Greenspon

Frequency, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, curated by Thelma Golden

Toxic, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY, curated by Josie Browne
Art After the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Apexart, New York, NY, curated by Eugenie Tsai
Bibliography (Selection)

Brown, Becky, "Mike Cloud", Art in America, Jan.
Cotter, Holland. "Review: Independent Art Fair Combines Less Is More and Growth,” The New York Times, Mar 5.
Creahan, D., "New York-"Looking Back: The 9th White Columns Annual" at White Columns Through February 21, 2015", Art Observed, Jan 31.
Freeman, Nate. "Armory Week 2015", The Observer, Mar 5.
Halle, Howard. "The 10 artists every art fan should kow about," Time Out New York, Dec 18.
Smith, Roberta, "Art Exhibitions from Chelsea to the Lower East Side", The New York Times, Jan 29.

Corwin, William, "The Interview Show: Mike Cloud", Clocktower Radio, July 28.
Corwin, William, "Mike Cloud: Bad Faith and Universal Technique", The Brooklyn Rail, Oct 3.
Keeting, Zachary, "Mike Cloud at Thomas Erben Gallery", Gorky's Granddaughter, Sept 22.
McClure, Diana, "Mike Cloud: Bad Faith and Universal Technique", The International Review of African American Art, Oct 17.
Schouweiler, Susannah, ""Paper Quilts" by NYC-based artist Mike Cloud on view at Bethel University", McKnight Arts, Oct 13.

Wozniak, Karla, "Dying Merging Multitasking: An Interview with Mike Cloud", Temporary Art Review (online publication), Sept 4.

Leiby, Sofia, ”Post-Internet Painting and the Death of Affect”, Pool (online publication), Dec 28.

Muelensteen, Edward, ”Quiltmaking & Overproduction of Opposites”, Muelensteen Art Center, February.

Nickas, Bob, “Painting Abstraction”, Phaidon Press, September.

Coburn, Tyler, “Agreement and Subjectivity”, Art Review Magazine, December.
Feinstein, Roni, “Report from Miami: After the Fair(s),” Art in America, March.
Siedell, Daniel, “Charismatic Abstraction”, Western Michigan University Press, (catalogue) November.

Woolridge, Jane, “These Quilts Uncover Imagination,” Miami Herald.com, December 6.
Vernissage TV, “Mike Cloud: A Eating Phylosophy/ Max Protetch Gallery & the Center for Visual Communication” (video interview), December 27.

Cotter, Holland, “Mike Cloud,” The New York Times, January 27.
Stillman, Nick, “Frequency: Studio Museum in Harlem,” The Brooklyn Rail, February 11.
Wolgamott, L. Kent, “Variations on the Visual: Mike Cloud” (pod cast), April.

Smith, Roberta, “Where Issues of Black Identity Meet the Concerns of Every Artist," The New York Times, November 18.

Glueck, Grace. “Mike Cloud,” The New York Times, September 24.