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Jun Kaneko Japanese, American b. 1942

Born in Nagoya Japan in 1942, Jun Kaneko studied painting with Satoshi Ogawa during his adolescence, working in his studio during the day and attending high school in the evening.  In 1963, Kaneko moved to California to study under the postwar ceramic artists Fred MarerPeter Voulkos, and Paul Soldner, who encouraged Kaneko’s early explorations of abstract and non-utilitarian ceramics.  The following decade, Kaneko taught at many of the nation’s leading art schools, including Scripps College, Rhode Island School of Design, and Cranbrook Academy of Art.  In 1990, Kaneko moved to Omaha, Nebraska where he established a warehouse studio with the capacity to handle increasingly large-scale ceramic sculptures.  In the following years, Kaneko experimented with raku firing and abstract glazing techniques which treated three-dimensional ceramic surfaces as canvases for paint.

In an essay for an exhibition of Kaneko’s works at Sheldon Museum of Art, curator Daphne Deeds writes that Kaneko “employs abstraction not to transcend contemporary complexities, but to reveal the inherent synchrony of the natural world.”  His work “could not be other than rhythmic, patterned and symmetrical because it is derived from his essential absorption of nature's harmony” (Rhythmic Clay, 1986).  Kaneko works in reaction to the physical and temporal limitations of his material—ceramics demand patience, and harmony demands a delicate touch.  Kaneko’s Dango(“dumpling”) sculptures are among his most recognized series of works: between three and eight feet in height, the sealed dango pieces must dry for up to four months before firing and glazing.  

Jun Kaneko sculpture and arts may be found in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Honolulu Museum of Art, and Smithsonian American Art Museum. Larsen Art Auction regularly offers original artworks of Jun Kaneko for sale.