I Can't Make It by Myself, Recology San Francisco, 2016.
The Recology Artist in Residence program, also known as the "Dump Residency", sponsors 6 artists each year for a four month residency. The work made at the residency must be made entirely with materials scavenged from the waste stream.
In video, installation, and paper weaving, Miguel Arzabe explores the formal and physical properties of the items he has been finding while at Recology. He has, in a sense, been working in collaboration with these things, creating a space for chance and spontaneity and allowing them to release untapped potential in new contexts. Arzabe's videos capture a row of paint cans slowly pouring out their contents onto a massive canvas, audiotapes unfurling en mass, and flat screen TVs falling back into each other like dominoes. Found recordings, such as the 1967 Stu Gardner song which gives the exhibition its title, serve as soundtracks for these cathartic metaphors that suggest the anxiety of living in uncertain times.
Arzabe also continues his practice of slicing and weaving art related imagery, such as gallery announcements or mass produced art prints. He applies this technique to found original works on paper as well, and again collaborating, in this case with an unknown artist, extends the creative life of discarded artworks.
For the grand finale of the opening reception, Arzabe executed a live painting performance for the audience. The videos were turned off and the gallery lights were lit. The projection screen revealed itself to be a giant sloped canvas with 61 cans of paint perched along its top edge. Using a lever mechanism, the paint cans were poured down the canvas simultaneously, slowly keeping tempo with a lone record player playing the song which gave the exhibition its title.