Miguel Arzabe makes colorful and dynamic abstractions – paper weavings, paintings, videos – to recover moments of uncanny human interconnectedness. He starts by looking outward, finding beauty whose time has passed – paper ephemera from contemporary art shows, traditional indigenous textiles, modernist paintings, discarded audio recordings. They are methodically deconstructed, analyzed, reverse-engineered. Drawing from the cultural techniques and motifs of his Andean heritage, Arzabe weaves the fragments together to produce unlikely intersections between form and content, the nostalgic and the hard-edged, appropriation and authorship, failure and redemption.
Arzabe lives in Oakland and is a charter studio member at Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco. Arzabe’s work has been featured in such festivals as Hors Pistes (Centre Pompidou, Paris) and the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (Montreal); and in museums and galleries including MAC Lyon (France), MARS Milan (Italy), RM Projects (Auckland), FIFI Projects (Mexico City), Marylhurst University (Oregon), Berkeley Art Museum, Albuquerque Museum of Art, the de Young Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He has held many residencies including Facebook AIR, Headlands Center for the Arts, Montalvo Arts Center, and Santa Fe Art Institute. He holds a BS from Carnegie Mellon University, an MS from Arizona State University, and an MFA from UC Berkeley.
‘Here,’ 2020, is an homage to the cultures of resistance to oppression that continue to exist in the Bay Area. A nineteenth-century colonial engraving of a California Native American is recontextualized and reclaimed by weaving in the 1960’s raised fist symbol for black power and self-determination. Participation in the Census is but one important way that we can say “We are here, and we stand together.”