Saturdays Artists Series, Part 1: Marta Cardenas

Marta Cárdenas exhibe el trabajo de su pincel caleidoscópico - Noticias de  Gipuzkoa
(Marta Cardenas, 1944- )

Marta’s work is representative of the Basque School and it is found in many galleries in Spain as well as well represented in ARCO (the biggest contemporary art fair celebrated yearly in Madrid). She was born in San Sebastián, (Donostia), on the 5th of September 1944. She is a painter and engraver focusing mostly on abstract art.

She was a figurative artist up to the 1990’s, then she made a switch to abstract…

Her first expo was in a gallery in her hometown of Donostia (San Sebastián) in 1970. Her career began to take force and rise when in 1980 she was the recipient of a scholarship by the prestigious Spanish organisation Fundación Juan March. And by that time she had made her debut in Madrid with a solo show in 1974.

She spent most of the 1980’s exhibiting in Milan, Paris and Lisbon. Then in 1986 she participated and exhibited in ARCO, which she returns to in 1991.

Her will to look at different ways to express her thoughts, feelings, emotions and messages through her art, being that she has always been an artist with much curiosity and with the spirit of exploration, led her to abstract art during the 1990’s. Her abstract work is closely tied to nature, using natural colours and textures, as she studies the colours of distant lands, the vegetation and the way the sun changes the aspect of things as the day progresses.​

The work of Marta Cárdenas can be found in various museums like Museo Reina Sofía of Madrid or the Museo de Bellas Artes of Bilbao, as well as in the Palacio de la Moncloa, the Biblioteca Nacional de España, the Fundación Juan March, the Colección BBK (Bilbao), and the Fundación La Caixa…

Personally, although I like her work, I cannot see all the things she references. Therefore, as mostly decorative pieces…which all art is decorative…I find the paintings appealing. As being paintings that transmit a strong message, I don’t think so. Her work is colourful and fun, and she is an extraordinary artist that truly works to create and develop her talent, but messages, to me, do not come through. She is, a highly recognised Spanish artist and is most certainly part…an important part…of our art history and of European art history so it is important to get to know her work. She is, after all still active.

I have prepared a companion post of some of her work. Tell me what you think. Tell me what you see in her abstracts and how they may differ to you from her figurative work. I would love to carry on a discussion/conversation about art, not just about this particular painter. So if you like this post and its contents, please like and share to maintain the conversation and extend it much, much further.



  1. Brad Osborne · January 16

    I would agree that from a decorative view point her works are lovely. A natural palette of hues offered in bold form and line that is pleasing to the eye. I would argue that, although the internal references may be well hidden and hard to find within every piece, they are there whether we find them or not. Sometimes we struggle to understand what the artist’s internal vision was, when in reality all we need to find is what speaks to us from within. Which may or may not parallel the artist’s intent. To be honest, I like her works pre-abstract better than her others. Those earlier works show a real command of figurative art. Another lovely post in the series my friend. My education continues!

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · January 16

      Yes, I agree Brad, the internal reference that guided the artist may have been ruminating in his/her mind for days or weeks, but what is actually more important is what the viewer sees in the painting, that becomes the internal reference of the viewer and creates the real essence of the painting and its true value. I thank you and agree my friend, her figurative work was better in my opinion as well. Take good care,

  2. spwilcen · January 16

    Unusual. I’ve tried to read your essays before viewing the artist. Today I forgot. I am glad I did. While I have nothing uncomplimentary to say about Ms. Cardenas, I am not moved by it. Which kind of means we agree, though I am not able to express myself as succinctly as do you. Will say I thoroughly enjoyed the accompanying musical theme. Gracias and good day.

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · January 17

      Thank you SP, I thought we would be in agreement on this one and I am happy to know you liked the music. One day I will put together all those short pieces of music and make a Jazz/rock symphony! Take good care and all the best my friend!

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