This exhibition convenes two artists who have collaborated and maintained a strong artistic dialogue over the last several decades, ever since they were students at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). Alicia McCarthy and Ruby Neri are often associated with the San Francisco Mission School, a group of artists living and working in the city’s Mission neighborhood in the 1990s and early 2000s. The two work in different mediums but share a range of aesthetic affinities and artistic approaches, which stem from their shared history of working in various San Francisco settings, and in particular, their early penchant for painting on buildings in the streets.
For MATRIX 270, Neri contributes a new series of ceramic sculptures that upend traditional representations of the female nude, while McCarthy includes a new group of paintings that explore her characteristic motifs such as grid weavings, double rainbows, and colored bars. Although Neri remains rooted in the figure and McCarthy in abstraction, the artists share an intuitive and process-oriented approach, a saturated palette, and a strong physical relationship to their respective media. They each relish immediate and spontaneous methods of working, which often translate to rough-hewn, or organic, aesthetic approaches. For this exhibition, and the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of MATRIX, the two artists have also produced a collaborative poster that will be available in the BAMPFA Store.