“The difference between art and equipment is that [the latter] functions reliably”, Mike Cloud once said. Clothing, one of the three basic needs, functions, of course, reliably as protection against the elements. Once clothing becomes art, that charge dissolves into a multitude of psychological, social, and didactic agencies. Cloud’s painted clothing series are beautiful assemblages of unused children’s clothing on raw stretchers that the artist “decorates” with paint, text or images. In essence, they are true representations; the artist is literally presenting something for the second time. They add a searing emotional component to an exceptional painting practice that, despite interpretations to the contrary, works largely aesthetically versus conceptually. At Thomas Erben Gallery through March 31. (Cloud’s geometric cutie catchers and new compelling work is also on view on at the Logan Center Gallery at the University of Chicago.)