in Tokyo / Japan
27.05.2023 - 01.07.2023 00:00
Ruby Neri - Weights and Measures

Kosaku Kanechika is pleased to present Ruby Neri’s solo exhibition “Weights and Measures”. 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, nine sculptures and seven drawings created by Neri in 2023 will be included in this presentation.

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.

Gallery hours Tue-Sat 11 am – 6 pm
Closed on Sun, Mon and National Holidays

Exhibition Duration 27.05. – 01.07.2023


Kosaku Kanechika
TERRADA Art Complex 5F, 1-33-10 Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku
140-0002 Tokyo


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