Jose Alvarez’s driving concern is our seemingly inherent need to believe in the supernatural. He presents mixed-media works on paper, videos, installations, and performances, through which he breaks down belief systems into intersecting components of science, spirituality, and mysticism. Alvarez began his career with a hoax. In collaboration with James Randi, a magician and skeptic of all things psychic, he pretended to channel an ancient shamanic spirit, named “Carlos,” in charismatic and intentionally dubious performances, which were nevertheless seen as real by audiences worldwide until they were eventually exposed. In this vein, Alvarez’s other works burst with psychedelic patterns, colors, lush floral imagery and, in his works on paper, such traditional shamanic materials as crystals and porcupine quills. They appear as hallucinatory portals into other realms, or send-ups of them—depending on the viewer’s perspective.