Juana Francés

ExhibitionIVAM Alcoi

Juana Francés began her artistic activity in the 1950s, when the first symptoms of artistic renewal started to appear in Francoist Spain. Establishing connections with the avant-garde circles that gathered in Madrid, Juana Francés was the only female member of El Paso, a group born under the influence of American Abstract Expressionism and its gestural and material violence. However, she left the group in 1957, precisely because of the contempt for her art and her condition as a woman shown by some of the other members at a time when art was still an area dominated by men.

Until 1960, Juana produced works in which she aggregated different textures, sober colours (blacks, whites and earth tones) and new materials like river sands. From 1963, and for nearly twenty years, she produced her series El hombre y la ciudad (Man and the City), a depiction of a stifling and distressing human environment resulting from the growing industrialisation and economic development in urban Spain after the application of the Stabilisation Plan of 1959. Later, in the 1980s, the artist returned to abstraction. Between 1986 and 1990, the year of her death, she produced her series Fondos Submarinos (Submarine Depths), Cometas (Comets) and Escudos (Shields), where she experimented once more with material and gesture in an attempt to transfer movement to the support, drawing inspiration from the cosmos or the depths of the sea, and using the circle and rectangle as principal motifs.