Boise State University art history professor Janice Neri died on Friday, Oct. 16, after a six-year struggle with cancer.
Neri, 46, moved to Boise in 2004 for her BSU position, along with her husband, sound artist Ted Apel. The couple met as undergraduate students at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.
Her death is the second major loss for the BSU art department in recent years. In 2015, art professor Cheryl Shurtleff died of breast cancer.
A visual culture scholar, Neri’s research looked at the role of images in the construction of knowledge about nature during the early modern period (1400-1800). She published her book, “The Insect and the Image: Visualizing Nature in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700,” in 2011.
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She shared an aesthetic and interest in nature and art with BSU Visual Arts Center Gallery director, lecturer and friend Kirsten Furlong. The two collaborated on several projects.
“Janice was incredibly smart and a really interesting scholar,” Furlong says. “I was so interested in what she was doing from her first interview.”
With a strong understanding of what was traditional in art, Neri could often offer new and unique perspectives on the work of her colleagues and students.
“She was funny with a dry sense of humor,” Furlong says. “Really sweet and always positive. With everything she went through in the past six years, she was always just willing to continue to do her work when she could and always was happy when she could contribute. She stayed positive in the face of something that would have defeated many others.”
Apel is an assistant professor in the BSU College of Innovation and Design, teaching gaming, interactive media and mobile technology.
Neri was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly after the birth of the couple’s son, who is now 7.
Friends and colleagues can pay their respects at a memorial service at 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5, at Summers Funeral Home, 1205 W. Bannock St., in Boise. Instead of flowers, the family asks you make a donation to The Idaho Foodbank (idahofoodbank.org).