Published September 08, 2020
In the drawings of Mike Adrao, figures often emerge out of a solid darkness of powdery graphite, eeriely alive and intricately beautiful. Bodies unravel, dissected, spliced, and merged with other matter: bone, mineral, flora, meat, stone. Materials in varying states of transformation and decay combine into a Baroque ornateness, a labyrinth of decorous curves, chiaroscuro, and earthly twisting forms. They beg to be deciphered, holding the viewer still even at those that come close to grotesque horror.
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Mike Adrao is a Filipino contemporary artist and master draftsman, tracing the boundary lines of medical and zoological autopsies, Arcimboldo, the Cthulhu mythos, the Surrealists of the early 20th century, and even antique and classical furniture drawings. In 2012, he had his solo exhibition Decoy, Decay at Tin-aw Art Gallery. He has also had group exhibitions in Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia and the special exhibitions section of Southeast Asia Platform at Art Stage Singapore (2014) and the Karen H. Montinola Selection at Art Fair Philippines (2015). He was part of the exhibition Complicated at the Lopez Museum and Library in 2015 and Paper Trails: Southeast Asian Works on Paper at Sangkring Art Space, Jogjakarta, Indonesia.