Artist: Luis Arias
Exhibition: The Weaving Machine
Gallery: Marilyn Werby Gallery
Media: Woodworking and Weaving
Website: Artist has no website (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Instagram: Artist has no Instagram
Luis Arias is currently an undergraduate student here at California State University Long Beach. He is expecting to graduate with his Bachelors of Fine Arts in Wood this upcoming May. Luis was originally born in El Salvador, but he left in the 80s and came to America. During his free time, he enjoys making clones of items. One example is a yoyo, which he said he enjoyed playing with through his childhood, so he figured why not build a bigger one. It took Luis three years to graduate, now on his final year, he said we wants to take a trip to Europe once he graduates.
Influenced by, “the industrial processes that are replacing craft and hand labor”, Luis set out to show to the viewer the craft techniques required to make a specific object. The main medium of Luis’ artwork is wood with complements of weaving. One example being his deck chairs, which are made out of wood and fabric that was weaved together using his loom, which is also made out of wood. A lot of his pieces have smooth curves or unique weaves integrated into them. The overall gallery had a craftsman appearance but also a minimalist feel to it.
A lot of the artwork in the gallery appeared to have a use. For example, the deck chairs, stools, or shelves. Even though they all could be used as legitimate chairs, stools, and shelves, they had some sort of unique artistic twist to them that made you not want to sit in them or place stuff on them. Talking with Luis, he said this was his goal all along, to make unique but functional art works. For example, when looking at the shelves from the side, they represent a butterfly, which gives them that unique twist, but they are also fully functioning shelves.
I enjoyed this exhibition for the fact that I can relate to a lot of the wood working involved. Growing up I had a lot of experience with wood working that involved building shelves or turning wood on a lathe to make a bowl or a baseball bat. With this kind of experience and being a perfectionist, I know how difficult and frustrating it can be to make artwork that looks as perfect as it did in the exhibition. Walking into the gallery had an almost nostalgic feel for me.