July 18 - August 29, 2015
Reception: Saturday, July 25, 4-6PM
In the early 70s, Carlos Almaraz emerged as a leader of the Southern California Chicano arts movement, working on murals with Cesar Chavez, and exhibiting artwork that vibrantly brought Chicano culture and consciousness into the mainstream art world. The exhibition at Craig Krull Gallery will be the first to explore Almaraz’s early journal drawings and poems from 1969-1972, years in which he developed his personal iconography and symbols, as well as explored the sometimes dark and conflicted depths of his soul. Like many young artists, Almaraz made the pilgrimage to New York but his fiery Latino spirit did not conform to the prevailing coolness and structure of Minimalism. He made journal drawings of boxes and lines, but they were bold, and gestural, and he eventually developed them into grids of sequential images that morphed from square to square in a filmic manner. One extraordinary journal is a collage flipbook using found images that later became part of his visual vocabulary; trains, chairs, nudes, and masks. His poems and notes reflect his struggles with art making, but also his torment over his sexuality and personal relationships. In fact, a few of the journals were created in the psychiatric ward of Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, and later, in the General Hospital of Los Angeles where he spent 40 days in an alcohol-induced coma travelling through a tunnel of light with extra terrestrials. Carlos Almaraz died of AIDS related causes in 1989. A major retrospective of his work, titled Playing With Fire, is scheduled at LACMA in 2017, curated by Howard Fox, and part of Pacific Standard Time: L.A./L.A., the Getty-funded initiative addressing the artistic relationship between Los Angeles and Latin America.
Concurrently, the gallery will present its second exhibition of paintings and pastels by Emmanuel Galvez. Niños Envueltos are Mexican pan dulce of round, red, coconut-encrusted cake with a red jelly swirl inside. Galvez grew up eating them and now, as Christopher Knight observed, he makes paintings that are “a delectable social confection.” In fact, Knight concludes that, “Like Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Galvez deploys mute objects as if they were lush but humble surrogates for a diverse family of interactive characters.”
Finally, the gallery is pleased to re-introduce Joe Fay to the LA art scene. Having made a mark in the 80s showing thick, juicy paintings with Molly Barnes, Roy Boyd, Richard Green and Jan Baum, Fay decided to leave LA and spend his time fly-fishing in Montana. His first LA show in over 20 years is, according to Fay, “like taking a walk in a dense forest…and through a small opening or clearing you notice a bird, animal or beautiful flower that’s framed by the multicolored shapes of the vegetation around you.” Indeed, Fay’s vegetation is a wildly luscious, oozing abstraction, like a more robust type of Italian marbled paper.