Art critic Miguel González (b. 1950) wrote this text for the exhibition Marta Elena Vélez (1980-1986) held at the Museo de Arte Moderno of Medellín (MAMM). Vélez(b.1938) was one of the most emblematic artists from Medellín in the seventies. In his analysis, González divides Vélez’s production into three distinct phases that he believes provide an understanding of an artist unique in the region. Vélez’s restless personality, González argues, has led her to explore a variety of supports and popular iconography.
Vélez forms part of a generation of artists from Medellín that, thanks in part to the Primera Bienal de Coltejer (1968), produced experimental work. To expand the possibilities offered by her painting, Vélez made use of supports like screens, curtains, cushions, and other objects. González argues that Vélez’s work is by no means uniform as it ventures into the spheres of sculpture, painting, assemblage, the readymade, and performance. This text, along with the show at MAMM, evidences a versatile personality engaged in constant exploration.
Marta Elena Vélez studied at the Universidad de Antioquia’s Instituto de Artes Plásticas with artists Anibal Gil (b. 1932) and Rafael Sáenz, both of whom were essential to her education in painting. One of the exhibitions that González mentions is Arte nuevo para Medellín (1967), the first exhibition in which the artist took part. Her work was later featured in the group shows like the II Salón de Artistas Antioqueños (1970), III Bienal de Coltejer (1972), Cali, Barranquilla, Medellín (1974), and other regional and national events.
At the time of this exhibition, González was an art critic and professor at the Instituto Departamental de Bellas Artes in the city of Cali. He was the curator of the Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia for fourteen years (1985-2009). In 2005, he published the book Apuntes para una historia del arte en el Valle del Cauca durante el siglo XX and, in 2008, Cali: visiones y miradas, a compilation of his critical production from 1972 to 2007.