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Valenzuela, Rosa Mena (1913–2004) By Avila, Theresa

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM2072-1
Published: 15/10/2018
Retrieved: 23 July 2024, from


As a pioneer of Expressionism in El Salvador, Rosa Mena Valenzuela was responsible for some of the most radical transformations in Salvadoran art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Valenzuela began her own exploration of materials and form prior to her journey abroad in the 1960s, and hers were the earliest expressions in El Salvador of developing international trends and experiments. Valenzuela transgressed artistic traditions with her unique abstract and expressionistic style, as well as in her experimentation with diverse mediums and materials. She worked on an intimate scale and developed her own unique language for and approach to the two-dimensional plane where she painted, drew, and collaged various materials, such as paper, cardboard, fabric, industrial paint, aluminium, and cement. The spontaneous and energetic nature of her line simultaneously creates and erases both a sense of form and atmosphere. Line and colour are concomitant elements of her visual language; her images are often filled with vibrant colours, and at other times subdued, giving way to a narrative. Another important aspect of Valenzuela’s work is the effort to reveal if not highlight her process and materials, which can be interpreted as some of the more significant aspects of what makes her work unique to Salvadoran art.

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Avila, Theresa. Valenzuela, Rosa Mena (1913–2004). Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

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