Artist: Luis Arias
Exhibition: The Weaving Machine
Media: fabric, wood
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Merilyn Werby Gallery
About the Artist
Luis Arias is currently a senior at CSULB and plans to graduate in the spring of 2016. He is presently enrolled in the wood program. Luis came to the States in the 1980’s from his home country of El Salvador. Besides working with wood and learning how to weave, Luis enjoys soccer, watching and playing, and also loves to travel. He has been all over Europe and some of his favorite places are Spain, Italy, and Portugal. He plans to go back to Europe as soon as he graduates.
Luis doesn’t give formal names to any of his pieces. All of pieces are functional. For example he makes deck chairs, shelves, mirror frames, stools, and even a loom. The loom was the centerpiece of the exhibit. It seemed to be completely made of wood with a few metal bits like screws and rods for structural purposes. For the exhibit, Luis would demonstrate how the loom works, creating interesting patterned fabric. This is how he would create seats for his deck chairs. One deck chair (pictured above) particularly stood out for me. The frame is completely made out of wood. It had a beautiful finished feel to it, as opposed to a rough one. As mentioned before he used the loom to weave the seats. This one in particular was very colorful. It had stripes of blue, orange, and different shades of yellow. It sort of resembled a mini hammock and was very comfortable to sit in.
Luis draws inspiration from mathematics. That can be seen in the preciseness of his work and also its functionality. Luis’ simple design reflects his belief in a simple life. After talking with him, it becomes clear that he thinks that modern society has become too complicated, too convoluted. Unnecessarily so. His work is very transparent in the sense that you can see how everything works. I thinks thats how Luis believes society should work. Everything out in the open.
Synthesis / My Experience
I had a great time speaking with Luis. He is very down-to-earth. Despite being much older than me, I felt we shared very similar ideas and interests. I think we can all learn something from Luis. He works with his hands and knows how to get things done. And when he doesn’t know how to do something he will go out of his way to not only figure it out but master it. His work is simple but there’s beauty in that. I would love to one day have a piece of his to not only own but use. Like that beautiful deck chair. Perfect for lounging and sipping lemonade.