Organized thematically, the exhibition includes over 60 works drawn from public and private collections. Since Almaraz oscillated between a variety of themes throughout his career, Fox opted to curate the show around five major subjects rather than the archetypal chronological arrangement. In this way Fox’s curatorial arrangement mimics the artist’s actual studio practice, while simultaneously providing viewers with deeply personal yet accessible wall texts that speak to the curator’s investment in paying homage to an artist whose contributions to the Los Angeles art community have been somewhat overlooked.
Almaraz’s paintings are visually arresting canvases built up with dynamic brushstrokes, textured surfaces, and saturated colors that pulsate with energy. There is a Fauvist quality to his work evident in his jagged, expressive brushstrokes and penchant for garish colors. The star of the show is Almaraz’s four panel vista, “Echo Park Lake” (1982), the parts of which had not previously been reunited in over 30 years. Situated in the galleries devoted to the theme of “Los Angeles, Delirious and Edenic,” the tetraptych painting “Echo Park Lake” is a dreamy ode to one of the artist’s frequently painted and favorite parts of East LA. In this canvas, the connection to Claude Monet’s renderings of lily ponds is evident in its use of color to capture time.