Pedro Velez

In Revealing Nature (September 11 to November 14, 2015, Portrait Society Gallery), New York and San Juan-based artist Pedro Vélez debuts a new series of work that grapples with the idea of the muse. What and who has served as a muse for his work? How have viewers interpreted his work and the muses that inspired it? In order to do so, Vélez re-examined previous work while analyzing past romantic and non-romantic relationships, pinpointing their effect on his work. Subsequently, he has gone back and re-photographed these subjects, creating paintings from the photographs that are most significant to him. The artist has found that certain people are constantly repeated in his work while other people with whom he has had important relationships are barely featured. These muses are not the passive figures of Greek and Roman times, but instead active important protagonists in Vélez’s work.

(Pedro Vélez’s recent exhibitions include the 2014 Whitney Biennial in New York; Morally Reprehensible at 101 / Exhibit, LA; #DrunkDictators, an “On The Wall” installation at Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago; Ransom Notes and Surrender Flags at AREA, Caguas Puerto Rico; No Regrets at Oliver Francis Gallery in Dallas.

His work as both an artist and writer has been discussed in the LATimes, Chicago Tribune, Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post, New York Times, Artforum, Mutual Art, Frieze, Artspace and The Miami Herald among many other publications. For 10 years Pedro Vélez maintained a regular column about the art scenes in San Juan and Chicago for Artnet Magazine. In addition, his writing has been published in Newcity, New Art Examiner and Arte al Día.

Pedro Vélez’s work merges his interest in art criticism (including his own writing) and journalism into what he calls “visual essays” that take the form of large sculptural paintings, photographic collages, and limited edition posters and postcards resembling the look and feel of movie posters. Velez also incorporates text in his work, based on hashtags lifted from Twitter, that are scathingly critical as well as poetically cryptic. Taken together, Vélez’s multi-disciplinary approach creates a vibrant, stream-of-consciousness commentary on a variety of issues, encompassing race, politics, and other aesthetic concerns.

protest bouquet, Pedro Velez

Pedro Velez, Protest Bouquet (Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Chelsea Manning…), acrylic on raw canvas, 64 x 52 inches, 2015.


Pedro Velez, Diane and Cats, pigment print, prismacholor, house paint and painted pushpins, 42 x 20 inches.


Installation view, Revealing Nature: Pedro Velez Social and Private Portraits.

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Detail from Revealing Nature, pigment print and painted pushpins, 74 x 26 inches.


Installation view, Depression, acrylic and prismacolor on drop cloth canvas, 30 x 34 inches (right, sold); Rosalyn Matir (Process), pigment print, 36 x 26 inches (left). Other wall: Ghosts of Museums Past, pigment print and painted pushpins, 27 x 21 inches (sold).


Pedro Velez, Ghosts of Muses Past, pigment print and painted pushpins, 27 x 21 inches. (sold).


Pedro Velez, Tan LInes (Lack of Communication), acrylic, spray paint, prismacolor, sharpie and collage on drop cloth canvas; painted pushpins, 104 x 131 inches.


Detail from Tan Lines (Lack of Communication).


Pedro Velez, Muse, white cedar, acrylic and Prismacolor. Made in collaboration with L. M. Rodriguez, 20 x 15 x 9 inches.


Left: Private and Social Portraits, pigment print, painted pushpins and acrylic, 36 x 36 inches.


Left: Michelle, pigment print, painted pushpins, acrylic and spray paint on Xerox, 37 x 50 inches. Right: Private and Social Portraits, pigment print, painted pushpins and acrylic, 36 x 36 inches.


Installation view: Protest Bouquet (left) and Tan Lines, (Lack of Communication) right.



Pedro Velez, Rosalyn Reenacts a David Bailey Photograph, pigment print and painted pushpins, 55 x 36 inches.


Pedro Velez, Hard Core Rose, acrylic, Benjamin Moore paint, collage components, Prismacolor, spray paint on drop cloth canvas, painted pushpins, 98 x 100 inches (left). Seated Critic, acrylic on raw canvas, 50 x 51 inches (right).