Made In L.A. is coming to the Hammer, Barnsdall Park, LAXART, and billboards around town on June 2 and will showcase sixty emerging, under-recognized Los Angeles artists–one of which will be voted to win a $100,000 prize. In order to help you make an educated vote this summer, we’re counting down to Made In L.A. by showcasing each artist participating in the biennial.
Ruby Neri is a Los Angeles based artist who creates paintings and sculptures that seem like they are pulled from past eras of expressionism.
Neri’s work come in two forms: large oil paintings or large, sometimes mixed media, sculptural pieces. Her paintings see multicolored men and women awash in each other, them typically nude or at least slightly sexualized. Her gaze sees these people as almost quilt-like, each part of the body broken down into different blocks of colors that highlight the movement and shapes of the body. They in no way seem perfectly representative of a real person; however, they do resemble people in the way that Picasso and Gauguin and Marc did. They are very expressive and, although referential, are of her own visual voice.
Extending from her painted works are her sculptural works, which seem to literally bring her paintings from two dimensions into three at points. Her sculptural pieces come in two different forms: mixed media abstract pieces and large representations of people. The mixed media pieces see various stonewares smashed together to represent faces or bodies. They tend to straddle the line between being pottery and representative sculpture, often landing in the arena of antrhopomorphized glassware (as you can tell by a bottle with a woman’s head at the top or a jug like object that is a man’s head). Her other sculptures see her characters painted in panels as she does in her two dimensional works, their muscles and body parts almost highlight by a selection of three or four colors. Many of these are very large, sometimes immense brass objects painted in oil, who suggest the evolution of German Expressionists combined with advances in sculpture.
Neri’s work is very upbeat and friendly and inadvertently Southern Californian, as they sometimes referencing the environment or even streets, like Pico And Fairfax (which is the painting above). Her abstraction compared to other Made In L.A. abstract artists is pulled from another era and holds up against the reference points. We’re not sure what we’ll see from her at the show but we’re hoping it will be one of her giant paintings or giant sculptures, as they will undoubtedly command an audience.