Weights and Measures
27/May/2023 - 1/July/2023
KOSAKU KANECHIKA is pleased to present Ruby Neri’s solo exhibition “Weights and Measures” from May 27 to July 1, 2023.
Based in Los Angeles, Ruby Neri draws upon the rich histories and lived experiences of various northern Californian art communities in her work. Depicting a characteristic female typology, the artist’s influences include ancient sculpture, folk art, the Bay Area Figurative Movement, street art, and comic culture. Stemming from a lineage of such qualities, Neri’s female figures brim with an enthralling vitality and human emotions such as joy, fear, and ambivalence. Transferring mark making techniques reminiscent of a graffiti tag onto her sculptures, hues and tonalities intertwine to form the robust energy of each work.
Using ceramics as a vehicle to explore her ideas and thoughts, sculpting is the most freeing medium for Neri as both the materiality of ceramics and the tactile nature of how one handles it are crucial to the artist’s practice. Hence, the dynamism of her work is supported by the intimate relationship between her physical motions and the raw materials employed. Working with ceramics, a medium that cannot be entirely controlled, opens up possibilities to pursue the psychological realm, while creating space for something beyond the unconscious and intentional to come forth. With her ambitious sculptures, Neri has led the global trend of ceramics in contemporary art for over 20 years.
The vivid presentation of Neri’s work also interacts closely with the narratives suggested by her depicted characters. Ranging from vexing difficulties, triumph, hope, sexuality, and the lived experiences of a woman, these common experiences are distilled into a vigorous story that is both personal and universal. Embodying emotions of anxiety, conflict, and joy, Neri’s work compellingly reflects the human condition and an abundance of vitality.
Drawing significant attention in the international art scene, particularly within the United States, Neri has stated the following in light of her first solo exhibition in Japan, “Weights and Measures.”
“Weights and Measures” is informed by the focal piece of the show, which itself is titled “Weight in Gold.” This piece is composed of two dominant figures placed back to back while holding two smaller figures, each of a gold color, in their hands. Below swirls a small sea of characters kicking and reaching out, reminiscent of babies in an embryonic state. The smaller gold figures are—in a sense—being “weighed” by the larger figures, who will inevitably define their impending futures.
The figurative elements arise from a distinct need to express the idea of a singular female form, shown here as plural. The character exists as a complex, multi-faceted organism that faces a multitude of demands and unasked expectations. She is a figure whose brain has compartmentalized, reckoned with, and found personal definition all while being confronted with the realities of child bearing and childrearing, relational co-dependencies, societal hazards, and life goals as defined by heteronormative constructs. Somewhere is the elusive idea of sexual freedom, private joy, and freedom from body politics. The character seeks ideologies of feminism pertaining to utopianism, a private world of independence away from the outside, a world to walk one’s own line. This idea of feminism touches upon entrenched gender constructs where child bearing women still reside, it also explores the ideas of forced-labor, control, and submission, etc. It considers sexuality as a form of defense, a form of humor, and a form of self realization. This female antagonizer likens self control to a kind of societal constraint, and thinks of the body as a unit in need of protection, whereas nakedness is seen as armor, a flesh suit including high heels.
In addition to the work “Weight in Gold,” which serves as the culmination of the artist’s introspection in the statement above, ten sculptures and seven drawings created by Neri in 2023 will be included in this presentation. We cordially invite you to attend “Weights and Measures” at KOSAKU KANECHIKA.
Ruby Neri "Weights and Measures"
May 27 - July 1, 2023
Opening reception: May 27, at 5 pm - 7 pm
11 am - 6 pm
Closed on Sun, Mon and National Holidays
TERRADA Art Complex 5F
Ruby Neri was born in Oakland, California in 1970. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1994, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1998. Currently based in Los Angeles, Neri has presented multiple solo exhibitions at David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles and Salon 94 in New York. Notable recent group exhibitions include “Funk You Too!” (Museum of Arts and Design, New York, 2023), “The Flames: The Age of Ceramics” (Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, 2021-2022), “New Time: Art and Feminisms in the 21st Century” (Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, California, 2021), “The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, Objects Like Us” (Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut, 2018), “From Funk to Punk, Left Coast Ceramics” (Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, 2017), “Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California” (Oakland Museum of California and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2014-2015), “Energy That is All Around: Mission School” (Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, 2014), and “Made in L.A. 2012” (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2012). Neri’s works have been acquired by various international public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Brooklyn Museum, New York; de Young Museum, San Francisco; and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.