Fantastic Creatures and Common Animals Materialize in Miguel Arzabe’s Woven Bestiaries — Colossal

September 11, 2023 - Art


#Miguel Arzabe

September 11, 2023

Grace Ebert

abstract animals emerge from a woven scene

“Animales Familiares,” woven acrylic on canvas and linen, 78 x 108 inches. All images © Miguel Arzabe, courtesy of Johansson Projects, shared with permission

In Miguel Arzabe’s bestiaries, wide-eyed owls, pink pumas, and whale sharks emerge from planes of woven acrylic. The Oakland-based artist draws on his Bolivian roots and Andean textile traditions as he laces strips of sliced paintings into landscapes occupied by creatures both real and mythological. Arzabe’s most recent body of work, Animales Familiares, brings these beasts to the fore through vivid planes of blurred Earth and sky.

The artist begins each piece by reproducing a pair of modernist paintings, which he cuts into thin lengths and weaves together. Most often unrecognizable in their new forms—Rothko’s clear influence in the color-blocked  “Tiburón Ballena” makes the piece an outlier—the replicas root the works in Western art history. Arzabe distorts these references, though, by layering the paintings into new landscapes, intertwining the varying geographies and cultures to allow both to coexist.

On view from September 16 to October 29 at Johansson Projects, Animales Familiares imagines creatures common to the planet and spiritual realm to consider “one’s place in the universe,” Arzabe says.  Find more of the artist’s work on his site and Instagram.


a vibrant motif in yellow and orange surrounds and abstract scene with reds and blues

“Flamencos,” woven acrylic on canvas and linen, 56 x 78 inches

a detail image of woven canvas with beige, green, blue, and yellow pieces

Detail of “Flamencos,” woven acrylic on canvas and linen, 56 x 78 inches

a white and pink outline of a large animal snarls at the bottom of the canvas with orange and white patterns woven above

“Puma Roja,” woven acrylic on canvas and linen, 50 x 72 inches

A large animal face at the bottom of the canvas that has checked patterns throughout

“Tiburón Ballena,” woven acrylic on canvas and linen, 50 x 46 inches

Owls, birds, cats, and other animals populate an abstract landscape

Detail of “Animales Familiares,” woven acrylic on canvas and linen, 78 x 108 inches

A side, angled view of a woven work with orange in the center and blue surrounding it

“La Bestia del Progreso,” woven acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

A largely white woven plan with blue, red, and green forms in the center

“Nada De Nada,” woven acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

the artist weaves pieces on a canvas

Arzabe at work

#Miguel Arzabe


Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!

Source link

Play Cover Track Title
Track Authors