Sculpture Forum (Pilot) Manuel Neri October 22 2018

Sculpture Forum (Pilot) Manuel Neri October 22 2018

Garth Evans – sculptor I think he’s proporting to celebrate the female form. There’s a great deal of it that I really appreciate and enjoy… specifically, limited to, his work in plaster. David Cohen – editor, Artcritical One craves for there to be a sculptor within a group of painters that one likes. My interest is precisely in how sometimes the space between something kind of universal or archetypal or archaic intersects with a very contemporary figuration and body language and mannerisms that one associates with living in America in the 20th century, or up to our own moment. There are so many ways in which the female form suggests itself to artists in general and sculptors in particular, that don’t have to do with being individuals, being voluptuous, being present, etc. That’s almost humanist realism that isn’t the only way to make art. Karen Wilkin – art critic and historian Martin Kersels – sculptor, head of sculpture, Yale University The subject are all, apart from some of the heads, female, and my understanding of Neri’s work is that was his primary subject. Sally Tittmann – sculptor and curiously, in that sense, they’re illustrative, the dark of the pubic hair, and the black is dark shadows under the breasts. Are you saying that any allusive sculpture that doesn’t have all its parts articulated and all the features articulated is somehow problematic? This figure is crawling across the floor with little stubs for hands I’m reading it as a formal choice not as a literal amputation. Bruce Gagnier – sculptor What a lot of us might be saying is that we’re trying to follow the mind of the artist and what kind of decisions and judgements they’re making as they deal with the content They have almost no anatomical articulation to the pose So when you say they’re not really perceptual or done from the model that’s very obvious. I could see it as being related to the photographs of Medardo Rosso, putting chiaroscuro in them, I can almost read them– and this might be extreme– as a ritual, fashion exercise. Basically what I mean is a dressing and an undressing, alteration, not so much of the interior forms of the human figure, but of the exterior. I could start to read the color as the way one might play with a doll and I would not be shocked by this, for an artist to be doing this, but I would think that as they went on in life they might try to deal with this in their approach to the human figure in particular, to humanize what they’re trying to do. What I keep thinking of is the plaster casts of the bodies from Pompeii. Monica Bock – sculptor, educator When Garth suggested we see Neri, when I reviewed some biographical notes about him, He had eight children, and he did collaborate with his wife for some years, with Joan Brown, who I’d never heard of, unforunately. There are some of these that I like. They are just beautiful in the way that the plaster is moved around, at that scale, which is more intimate, like a doll, a little more palatable to me. Why are we looking at him looking at females? I think you’ve answered your own question. Just parenthetically, Joan Brown of course was a contemporary of and lived with the Bay Area figurative painters, including David park, some of whose most ambitious paintings are of male bathers. And I think why I’m so troubled by it is because I enjoy watching him make these things. There’s a kind of seductive quality to the way he’s handling the material. That performative element is seductive. And to have so little variation; throughout his career there was very little variation. There is an element of idealization, which clearly for the author is his perfect female, with a particular body form. Brandt Junceau – sculptor

3 thoughts on “Sculpture Forum (Pilot) Manuel Neri October 22 2018

  1. Everyone so serious… Neri generally used one model, a woman he knew very well. Thus the idea if a face is not the most necessary… about the gouges, the paint, the hands..equals anger?? Give me a break. He's making art, she's looking for a craftsman?
    She can't look at a woman with her legs spread? Fake outrage by some here. What this boils down to is how dare a heroic, hetero male, western trained, express and challenge himself viscerally and in a masculine way. We'll have none of that here! Not allowed! Especially on an ivy league campus 😁😁😁😁
    The older woman is right on the mark…and that's because she has no agenda.

  2. Of course he dare, "express himself" if that's the appropriate term, then the issue is – what is it about himself that he is expressing?

  3. Enjoyed this Manuel Neri video. Thanks!

    Karen Wilkin twice brought up the Pompeiian casts but their influence on his work was not discussed.
    The significance of those casts to Neri’s sculpture cannot be over emphasized. There are many insights into understanding his intent if we bare in mind those life size, plaster figures.
    In addition to being life size and plaster Neri’s figures are at ground level with no significant bases. Their poses are somewhat odd or accidental. All of these things can be said of the Pompeiian casts.

    In addition, the casts, an accident of nature, are often broken and missing parts. Their extremities are diminished and withered looking. Wrists and hands don’t always join. Most have a bare vestige of a face. These factors and the circumstances of their creation all lead me to a powerful sense of pathos when viewing them. I think that Neri is going for something similar. Pathos far more than mutilation is his aim.

    The Pompeii Figures might also lend a partial explanation of Neri’s use of color. Seeing his pieces all white he may have used color to deflect comparison and bring them into the 20th century.

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