I was lucky enough to work a bit with Mike Cloud in grad school, read the full interview here.
KW: The definition of painting has been expanded since modernism. Where do you think the boundaries of painting lie? And how far can they expand?
MC: That’s like you’re asking where do the boundaries of dance end, and when are you just making a fool of yourself? I don’t know if it’s something you can really explain, but you know that the boundary exists. There is a point at which you simply aren’t making a painting, but something else. Part of the skill of a painter is in proposing those boundaries. This comes from experience. You have to paint for a long time to understand it.
KW: If you could compare paint or painting to any other substance or activity, what would it be?
MC: The old one is alchemy, and then there is the old one of necrophilia. How about surgery? Maybe that’s a new one. Surgery is necrophilia, but the subject is still living. Or maybe a better one would be a magic trick.
KW: So painting is not dead?
MC: No, although I think painting is about death. In the olden days, when someone would die, you’d cover all the mirrors in the house. Mirrors are portals to the dead, and so are paintings in a lot of stories, like the portrait of Dorian Gray. Often in fiction, paintings are portals to the land of the dead. I think it’s because they’re placed on walls. We don’t physically interact with paintings; you never bump into one like you would a sculpture. You don’t have to dust them. They exist in a weird place. They just sit there. I think television used to be a sculptural problem, because televisions used to sit in the middle of the floor. But now they’re on walls and have become a painting problem. They are so much better than paintings in a way, because they do stuff, and you can turn them off. Paintings are always on.