Manuel Neri (American, born 1930)
Aurelia Roma, 1994
75 x 15 x 18 inches
Laumeier Sculpture Park Commission with funds bequeathed
by Aurelia and George Schlapp
Manuel Neri peels away peripheral elements from a block of stone to arrive at the essential in a search for the expressive nature of figural form in his work Aurelia Roma, 1994. Posed serenely inside a pond behind the museum, Neri’s simplified female hearkens back to the marble goddesses of Greece and Rome. He distresses the surface with studied chisel blows that define areas of texture to contrast with polished areas, creating an intentional ruin.
Manuel Neri was born in Sanger, California in 1930. He studied at several schools between 1951-1958 including: the California School of Fine Arts, the California School of Arts and Crafts and the University of California, Berkeley. Neri taught at the University of California-Davis for twenty-five years before retiring from teaching in 1990. Neri has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in 1979; a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1980 and a Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the International Sculpture Center in 2006. He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally including: the Denver Art Museum; the San Jose Museum of Art; the Isetan Museum of Art, Japan; theMuseum Moderner Kunst, Vienna, Austria; the Seattle Art Museum; the San Francisco Art Institute; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington. In 1983, Laumeier mounted a one-person exhibition of Neri’s work.