Miguel Arzabe (b. 1975 St. Louis, MO) is a visual artist working in weaving, painting, and video. His recent solo shows were at Shulamit Nazarian Gallery (Los Angeles, CA) and Johansson Projects (Oakland, CA). Arzabe’s work has been featured in such festivals as Hors Pistes (Centre Pompidou, Paris), Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (Montreal), the Geumgang Nature Art Biennale (Gongju, South Korea), and Lyon Biennial (MAC Lyon, France). His work is held in several public collections including the deYoung Museum, the San Francisco Arts Commission, Albuquerque Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, and the State of California. He holds a BS from Carnegie Mellon University, an MS from Arizona State University, and an MFA from UC Berkeley. Arzabe lives and works in Oakland CA with his partner, the visual artist Rachelle Reichert, and their young daughter.
Drawing from the textile tradition of his Latinx Bolivian heritage, Miguel Arzabe makes colorful woven paintings that are a remix of European and Indigenous cultures. Mining the Western canon of modernist painting, he creates acrylic paintings on canvas that are cut into strips and woven together by hand. His unique patterns are inspired by Andean motifs and symbology that are rooted in the oldest active textile tradition in the world. Arzabe’s woven paintings generate self-knowledge through the dismantling of hierarchy between racial identities.
“Miguel Azarbe’s works act as both painting and sculpture, weaving and remixing his cultural heritage with art historical influences into something that transcends these pasts, and creating something with a new identity and language that feels vibrant, current, and uniquely his own,” remarked juror Joseph Becker.