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The Enigmatic Atmospheres of Héctor Tadeo

Héctor Tadeo, Impact, acrylic on canvas, 67” x 67.”

Héctor Tadeo, Impact, acrylic on canvas, 67” x 67.”

By Raisa Clavijo

The Americas Collection recently opened “Atmosphere,” a selection of the most recent works by the Salvadorean painter, Héctor Tadeo. Through these works, the artist calls attention to an issue that affects developed countries as much as those of the so-called Third World: overpopulation. The result of the unplanned growth of urban areas and of migrations from rural areas in search of a better life, overpopulation in turn creates other problems such as tensions among social classes, violence and the uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources. Yet, this artist’s recent work does not transmit a negative message because of this; just the opposite. In his works Héctor Tadeo captures the energy that one breathes in the big cities, the product of affective exchanges among millions of human beings.

Héctor Tadeo, Implosion, acrylic on canvas, 67” x 67.” All images are courtesy of the artist and The Americas Collection.

Héctor Tadeo, Implosion, acrylic on canvas, 67” x 67.” All images are courtesy of the artist and The Americas Collection.

As a language, Tadeo has selected Abstract Expressionism, constructing works that evidence the pictorial tradition of Gesturalism and Tachisme. Furthermore, his style is a confluence of the legacy of Impressionism, Fauvism, Surrealism, influences that are clear in the works we see today. Nevertheless, there are many artists he admires and whose teachings he has embraced: Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Picasso, Gustav Klimt, Monet, Antoni Tàpies, Antoni Clavé, Fernando de Szyszlo, Orlando Cuadra, just to name a few.

Héctor Tadeo, Flood, acrylic on canvas, 67” x 67.”

Héctor Tadeo, Flood, acrylic on canvas, 67” x 67.”

Each painting is comprised of many layers not only of material, but also of meaning. The artist starts with a colored background that is not uniform; it is the support on which he applies and on occasion spills acrylic paint, his battlefield, the scene of several interventions. Later, he adds smudges to this background, applying vigorous brush strokes in darker tones. Next, he fills the surface of the painting with different symbols: crosses, roses, houses, airplanes. He draws them as a child would, in a spontaneous way, free of all canons.

Héctor Tadeo, Climate Sequence, acrylic on canvas, 67” x 67.”

Héctor Tadeo, Climate Sequence, acrylic on canvas, 67” x 67.”

Each of these symbols contains significance for Tadeo. The crosses signify people or things, airplanes allude to migrations, houses to the need to put down roots in each place, and roses allude to femininity; they are specifically inspired by his mother and are a recurring theme in his pieces. His mother, a seamstress, is an important presence in his life and in his work. In some of the paintings, Tadeo even glues pieces of fabric to the canvas; these he obtains from his mother’s workshop. These fragments are integrated into the surface like a second skin; they are supports that the artist later intervenes with paints.

Héctor Tadeo, Variations, acrylic on canvas, 67” x 67.”

Héctor Tadeo offers scenes that invite the viewer to identify, relate and interpret the different elements that comprise them. In many pieces, the artist paints clouds that appear to float serenely over the composition. The contrast between the painstaking realism of the clouds and the abstract structure that lies beneath them creates an extensive series of semiotic associations, challenging the viewer to construct his own story about the scene.

Héctor Tadeo, Silence, acrylic on canvas, 52” x 77.”

Héctor Tadeo, Silence, acrylic on canvas, 52” x 77.”

“With my work I hope to make people aware in a direct manner, people from different social classes, with different temperaments, perceptions of life and of the environment,” says the artist. “I want them to reflect on the concepts of social order and development, of civilization and culture, of history and progress, and how we are leading the planet to the verge of its capacity to resist.”

Héctor Tadeo is represented by The Americas Collection. 4213 Ponce de Leon Blvd. Coral Gables, Florida, 33146 | Phone: 305 446 5578 | www.americascollection.com.

Raisa Clavijo is the editor-in-chief of ARTPULSE and ARTDISTRICTS. She is an art critic and curator based in Miami.

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