Perhaps no other Neri I've seen has brought Giaciometti to mind so thoroughly. These two works seem to say something very different from other Neris I've encountered, and maybe that is what's made all the difference.
A look at one of the centerpieces of the phenomenal exhibition of Manuel Neri currently up at the Anderson Collection at Stanford!
I've talked about Neri some before, about how I don't love his statuary works, but the new exhibition at The Anderson is a remarkable presentation of his work, and especially his works on paper, that really move me.
This is a form of Abstract Impressionism. It is the form, or forms, that are recogniseable, while being removed from their context, rearranged, weirded as far as I'm concerned. The effect is one of a whole that is not the sum of its parts, but the grand total of the impression it makes upon the viewer and the canvas.
That's right, the canvas matters.
In fact, this is an anti-deKooning. deKooning tried to create a recogniseable image in his women, but here, it is the recognition of portions that do not form a whole, or at least that do not form a Nude in Environment.
Funkadoobiest. That is what I would qualify this as. Wiley is a personal fave, and this is weird, but it is really in the deatils that this one feels, I dunno, whole.
There are words, there are unrelated (or at least lightly-related) images, and there's a weird fish. The overall effect is at once Surrealist, and stylized, like an Art Deco homage to the dreams of Man Ray. It's nothing like that in presentation, but it's a cool phrase that I've been wanting to use...
There is joy and terror and wonder and threat to this piece. I Love the effect it gives off, that there is life, and the connection to Heironymous Bosch, the master of mingling horror with frantic joy with existential angst with pure flippin' glee, only ramps it up a little!
hI am 100% certain that there is great depth to this piece, that it is making many statements about meaning within the context of artistry, about only understanding a portion of anything that is in front of you because unless you look deeper, you're only getting a tiny fraction, about the inpermanence of what we see as opposed to the mass that is hidden from us. I am sure all these things exist, but for the most part, I do not experience them through this one.
Because it is too calming.
Perhaps it is the transluscence of the blue, of the calming aspect of the shape, but staring at this, as I often have, no matter how ragged I may feel going towards it, leaving it behind, I am smoother, softer, less harried.
How does one piece of art alter how you look at all the rest? Listen and find out!
We're coming towards the end of the series, so if you've got ideas for work we should cover, or even if you' like to do an interview, lemme know - firstname.lastname@example.org
We all remember the moment we fall in love, right? For me and The Anderson, it was here, staring at this piece, a good five minutes after I arrived and made my first fast circuit around the place. This was the piece that got me, the piece that I fell in love with, the piece and made me think about doing this series, writing these pieces, going back again and again and again.
I have a thing for sculptures that use found objects, and more so for things that bring them together in a way that establishes an emotional sensation, which this does in spades.
To me, this is a story. A story of disunity, how we are all constructed of bits and pieces, often cast-offs of what we used to be, might have been, wanted to become. We are a disunity of these ideas, these dreams, and when we take that step forward, when we reach for a whole, a cohesion, we are still that muddled whole, that assemblage of pieces disloyal and ill-fitting.
But we try.
We take that step, just like the Canton woman, and we reach forward. It is likely that once we pull the weight off the back foot and try to take another, we'll still be this inharmonious entity without a singular form, but we will have gone forward, perhaps placed ourselves in a new scenario where our inability to become a single thing is our calling card, our definition, our desired trait.
Like maybe an art museum, where these things are celebrated.
Christopher J Garcia - Curator, Fan Writer, Podcaster, and a guy who just loves art.