Provenance: Philippine Art Gallery Private Collection, USA
Throughout his career, Tabuena continually treaded the path between abstraction and figuration, a path all his own. For him, his personal style, after his transfer to Mexico, constituted for one step further on the road towards a purer artwork derived and yet detached from the actual visible world, an art all his own. One notes traces of the Mexican Rufino Tamayo in its sumptuous scumbling technique and elongated forms.
But the full palette range of it is an impressive demonstration of his mettle as a colorist. The chromatic richness is heightened by a Cubist approach which fragmentalizes images into numerous planes of pastel hues overlapping in places. Tabuena moved to Mexico in 1955 but he had shows in Manila in 1959 and 1973, but he was not present. In fact, since he left the Philippines he never came back at all, unlike other voluntary exiles like Nena Saguil, F. Aguilar Alcuaz, Fernando Zobel, Juvenal Sanso, Bencab, Oscar Zalameda and even that solitary old man by the Breton sea, Macario Vitalis.