Inside the Studio of Mike Cloud
Mike Cloud is a Chicago-based artist who works in painting, sculpture, collage, and mixed media. The artist's works, though primarily abstract, are often bluntly political and critical of traditionally Western styles modes of representation that are pervasive in the fine art world.
There's not too much to see of the artist's studio in this image. Cloud is pictured sitting among several paintings, close to them, as though the paintings are beings in and of themselves, with close relationships to the painter. The image seems to reflect much of what Cloud has said about his artistic process; the artist's work is often about representing human figures and attempting to simultaneously focus on and display the inner lives of the subjects while remaining respectful rather than maudlin.
Thee artist's space otherwise looks like any painting studio -- utilitarian, concrete floors spattered with paint; even lighting that's neither warm nor cool. Cloud has a serious look about him that helps lend a sense of gravity to the paintings.
A recent series of Cloud's works, shown at Thomas Erben Gallery in New York, uses abstraction to depict rather visceral subject matter -- dual series of portraits, one, of people who were hanged, the other, of people who were beheaded. Though Cloud's works rarely feature any direct figurative mark-making, they have an undeniable presence about them that is further strengthened by titling and subject matter.