Amaral is an important figure in the development of post-war Latin American abstraction. Her creation of “off stretcher” works, using non-traditional materials, acquires greater historical resonance with each passing year. Understanding and being understood is an important part of her work. Through a complex system based on artisanal technique, she finds answers to inner questions. As a result, Amaral’s work is deeply driven by her exploration of Colombian culture and threads of her own identity. Architecture, mathematics, landscape, and the socio-cultural dichotomies of Colombia are woven together with each strand of fiber. Her golden surfaces of light embody the hidden aspects of her inner self.
The use of gold, inspired by the intertwined histories of pre-Hispanic and Colonial art, gives her work a presence at once sensual and otherworldly. In his prologue essay to the book Olga de Amaral: El Manto de la Memoria (2000), Edward-Lucie-Smith comments on the transcendent qualities of her art: “A large part of Olga’s production has been concerned with gold, but there are in fact no equivalents for what she makes in Pre-Columbian archaeology. Nevertheless one feels that such objects ought in logic to exist — that she has supplied a lack.”