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San Jose ICA Presents Manuel Neri Sculpture Exhibition
Manuel Neri, Arcos de Geso (Cast4/4), 2004, Bronze, Oil-based pigments, 79x110.5x13 inches, Image Courtesy of the Artist and Hackett-Freedman Gallery, SF, Photograph: M.Lee Fatherree.

SAN JOSE, CA.- The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) announces the exclusive California presentation of Manuel Neri's The Figure in Relief, a comprehensive exhibition of painted sculptures, maquettes and works on paper by this preeminent Bay Area-based sculptor. The show includes work from the past 25 years that focuses on Neri’s use of the fragmentary and partial figure. The exhibition runs from November 8th through January 17th in the ICA’s Main Gallery. An opening reception and catalogue signing by the artist will be held at the ICA on November 7th from 6pm to 8pm.

For more than five decades, Neri has been exploring the human figure in his art. He is known internationally for his life-size sculptures in plaster, bronze, ceramic and marble as well as for his association with the Bay Area figurative movement during the 1950s and 1960s. The reliefs recall ancient Greek temple pediments and metopes as well as Medieval altarpiece carvings and Renaissance relief sculpture. The carefully curated exhibition showcases Neri’s unique ability to depict the figural form in various media.

“The ICA is truly honored to present this magnificent body of work by one of today’s most celebrated sculptors,” says Cathy Kimball, ICA Executive Director and Chief Curator. “We encourage everyone to visit the ICA to experience this stunning collection of figurative sculptures and be inspired by the mastery of the medium achieved by this living master."

A 196-page monograph accompanies the exhibition and provides comprehensive documentation of this unique series of sculptures. On November 13th at 7pm the ICA’s monthly art discussion forum, Talking Art will address Neri’s 25-year teaching career at UC Davis and the influence he’s had on hundreds of artists. The session is entitled “Figuratively Speaking: Tracing the Influence of a Teacher, a Program, A Movement and a Place,” and the panel includes Bay Area artists Robert Brady, Christopher Brown and Fred Snyder.

Neri’s work in plaster, ceramic, bronze and stone have merited him the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center in Hamilton, New Jersey. He will also be receiving the 2008 Bay Area Treasure Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on November 12th. Manuel Neri was born in 1930 in the San Joaquin Valley to Mexican immigrants and has lived in the Bay Area since 1950.

Neri studied at the California College of Arts & Crafts and the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), where he also taught from 1959 to 1965. He joined the faculty of the University of California, Davis in 1965 and retired from teaching in 1990.

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