Mike Cloud is a painter who builds irregularly shaped canvases that wed the frame and painted surface into a woven whole through sculptural strategies. By combining his conceptual approach with a material richness and a sensual handling of wet-into-wet technique, Cloud reveals the range of significations connected to shapes, surfaces and symbols in an infinitely malleable, direct and forcefully abstract mode …


Cloud uses abstraction to offer the viewer an aesthetic account of individuality, death and the empathic space of communion in absence of the political mechanisms of personal, racial, cultural and gendered identification.


Mike Cloud:  "This is a continuation of my investigation into abstract approaches to portraiture and the subject of bodily suffering in the victims of chance, crime and the state. Through shattered constructions, bold color and painterly surfaces, I attune the aesthetics of my expressionistic painterly treatment to the particular key of collective consciousness and mourning.


I feel this is an important project because the most radical challenge to the modernist conception of ‘personal’ or expressive art making is the contemporary conception of ‘identity’ where in all subjects are considered as primarily a set of intersectional political coordinates larger than themselves. Likewise the greatest provocation to the concept of Western liberal democracy is the seaming impossibility of meeting the demands of the victims of chance, crime and political injustice.”



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 associate professor at Northwestern University.


2003 MFA, Yale University, School of Art, Concentration in Painting and Printmaking, New Haven, CT
2001 BFA, University of Illinois, School of Art, Concentration in Secondary Art Education, Chicago, IL


Solo exhibitions


2020 Mike Cloud, Rosenwald-Wold Gallery, Univesrity of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
2019 Tears in abstraction, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, NY
2018 Mike Cloud: Figure Studies, The Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA
Quilt painting, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, NY
The Myth of Education, Logan Center Gallery, Chicago, IL
2015 Mike Cloud, Independent Art Fair/ Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, NY
2014 Paper Quilts, Olsen Gallery, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN
Bad Faith and Universal Technique, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, NY
2010 Quiltmaking & Overproduction of Opposites, Meulensteen Gallery, New York, NY
Special Project: Mike Cloud, Good Children Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2008 Agreement and Subjectivity, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY
2007 An Eating Phylosophy, Center for Visual Communication, Miami, FL
Celebrating Black History Month, The Gallery at Lincoln Center, New York, NY
2006 Systems, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, NB
Story Structure, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY
2005 Special Project: Mike Cloud, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, NY
2004 Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY


The Bronx Museum of Art, Bronx, NY
Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Slovakia
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
Eileen Harris-Norton Family Foundation, Santa Monica, CA
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, NE
The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

Group exhibitions


2020 Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
Mike Cloud & John Riepenhoff, Reyes|Finn, Detroit, MI
2019 Just Painting, Jack Barrett Gallery, New York, NY
Walking the Cow, The Green Gallery, New York, NY
2018 Materializations, The Landing, Los Angeles
SOUTH LOOP, Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, IL
Embodied Politic, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL
Noon – One, Canada Gallery, New York, NY
Inflatable tear, Ceysson & B n ti re, New York, NY
2017 Elements of XXX Part II, 47 Canal, New York, NY
2015 CYBORG, Zürcher Studio, New York, NY, curated by William Corwin
The 9th White Columns Annual, White Columns, New York, NY, curated by Cleopatra's
Wind Chimes, Bannerette, Brooklyn, NY, curated by Shanna Waddell
love child, Ortega y Gasset, Brooklyn, NY, curated by Eleanna Anagnos
2014 IN ON, Heliopolis/Sun City Project Space, Brooklyn, NY, 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
2013 Come Together: Surviving Sandy - Year 1, Industry City, Brooklyn, NY, curated by
Phong Bui
Dyeing Merging Multitasking, Ortega y Gasset Projects, Brooklyn, New York, curated
by Leeza Meksin
2012 Things: The Still Life in Contemporary Art, Delaware County College, Media, PA,
curated by Bertha Gutman
2011 The Death of Affect, Art Blog, New York, NY, curated by Fran Holstrom & Jeffrey Scott
February Show, Ogilvy & Mather, New York, NY, curated by Heather Hart and Jun Lee
2010 Looking Back, White Columns, New York, NY, curated by Bob Nickas
2009 African Americana, Brennan Gallery, Jersey City, NJ curated by Kenya Robinson
2008 XXL-Recent Large-Scale Paintings, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art,
Peekskill, NY, curated by Marc Straus
Charismatic Abstraction, Albertine Monroe-Brown Gallery, Kalamazoo, MI, curated by
Don Desmett
2007 Unfathom, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY, curated by Stuart Krimco
Residencies & Awards
Bibliography & Press
Project Space: Jesse Chapman / Mike Cloud, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY,
curated by Amy Greenspon
2006 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