Throughout the canvases Matta painted over the fifty-plus years of his post-New York career, certain visual ideas appear repeatedly. He evokes an endless, shifting space that conveys a palpable level of movement throughout the field. He manipulates pigments so that, both in color and in the means of application, they conjure up vaporous, unearthly spaces, the metallic shine of a machine piece, or the excessive brilliance and tone sickened by technological disaster. He conveys themes of mythological significance, futuristic warfare, and tales of phantasmic creatures undersea, in the universe of in unknown worlds. Finally, although many of his paintings are incomprehensible in precise terms, the created effect imparts a blending of the conscious and unconscious, the literal and the imaginary, that rarely fails to unsettle the viewer.
Mary Schneider Enriquez, “Roberto Matta: International Provocateur”, Matta: Making the Invisible Visible (exhibition catalogue), Chicago, 1994, pp.37-8