I first saw Brendale Tadeo’s work three years ago, in November 2007, at Art In The Park. I remember being attracted to the
blood red drips he used as backdrop for the distorted santo heads on his oil on paper pieces. At that time, he worked as an apprentice to artist Don Salubayba and did projects with Anino Shadowplay. A native of Zambales, he also became a regular at the workshops of Casa San Miguel, Coke Bolipata’s oasis for the visual and performing arts in that province.
Financial difficulties had forced Brendale to abandon his Fine Arts studies. But the desire to create kept him at the fringes of the visual arts scene. He attended short courses at the CCP and worked with the artist group TutoK. He learned composition by closely observing Elmer Borlongan. His perseverance has paid off. Next month, he goes back to the Philippine Women’s University as the first Art On The Verge scholar, a grant made possible by Rogue Magazine and Art Cabinet Philippines. He continues to help out at Casa San Miguel, where he now has been generously given studio space.
For his first one-man show, part of his Art On The Verge grant, Brendale worked closely with independent curator Boots Herrera. In Machinas, he explores how machines have become extensions of the self, especially to those who depend on them to eke out a living. For the tricycle driver, or the messenger, or the bus driver, and even for the mangbobote who goes around scavenging for waste, the machines they work with on a daily basis act as their lifeblood, as vital to their survival as an artery or a lung. He uses photo transfers to create the figures on his mixed media pieces. Just as it was in Art In The Park three years ago, I thought his pieces came alive with the colors he chooses as his backdrop, the bright drips of magenta or green or orange.
You do get a sense of Don Salubayba’s influence in this particular set of works. But then, this show marks a beginning for Brendale. As he moves on to take instruction in a formal academic environment, we hope to see his raw promise crystallize into something purely his own.
Machinas ran from 29 April to 21 May 2010 at the Nova Gallery, Warehouse 10A, La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Chino Roces Ave., Makati City. Phone (632) 392-7741 or visit http://www.novagallerymanila.com
Art On The Verge is an annual grant awarded to deserving visual artists, 32 years old and younger, who wish to continue with their formal studies. For more information, visit http://www.rogue.ph or http://www.artcabinetphilippines.com