Peter Clothier has written about art and artists in Los Angeles for national magazines for the past four decades. The following excerpt is adapted from his essay, “Carlos Almaraz: A Lyrical Madness,” from the exhibition catalogue Carlos Almaraz: Selected Works, 1970–1984.
If Almaraz invites us into the world of myth and archetype, then, it is to root the work in the values of the human spirit. Inhabited by demons and beasts, this world of ancient figures and signs speaks to that (Jungian) part of our consciousness which we share with peoples of all times and places—the heritage of constantly reiterated stories, practices and images through which we seek to acknowledge the primacy of powers greater than our own.
For Almaraz, the spiritual experience is as much a plurality as that of the material world. Cultures merge in the moment of art. The heritage of Pre-Columbian rite and image coexists in his work in startling singleness of vision with the Catholicism of the Hispanic tradition, all in the context of contemporary America.