Born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942, Jun Kaneko came to the United States in 1963 to study painting at the Chouinard Institute of Art in Los Angeles, now the California Institute for the Arts, where he became interested in sculptural ceramics. Studying in California with Peter Voulkos, Paul Soldner, and Jerry Rothman, he became immersed in what is now known as the contemporary ceramics movement. Kaneko has taught at some of the nation’s leading art schools, including Scripps College, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1990, Kaneko established his current studio in Omaha, Nebraska. His work is in more than seventy museum collections and appears in numerous international solo and group exhibitions annually. Kaneko has completed more than thrity public commissions in the United States and Japan.
Kaneko is best known for his Dango sculptures. Each of these monumental sculptures is hand-built, and combines traditional ceramics techniques as well as the ancient Shinto concept of ‘Ma’ which loosely translates into ‘attachment through space.’ On each sculpture, Kaneko creates highly patterned surfaces comprised of rhythmic graphic elements—squares, lines, and dots—to infer connections: “To me, a pattern or color repeated, makes some kind of visual order. Even if I desire to use a line, an endless combination of lines is possible. The spaces between the marks contribute a great deal to the tonality of the finished work.”
In January 2012, Opera Carolina will present Madama Butterfly featuring Kaneko’s costumes and set designs. Concurrent with the Opera’s performance, The Mint Museum has organized this spotlight exhibition of Kaneko’s ceramic sculptures and selected costume drawings from the Madama Butterfly production. Jun Kaneko: In the Round offers a rare glimpse at the creative process of a multifaceted artist who skillfully culls and combines diverse influences towards the creation of an aesthetic that is distinctive and meaningful.
Jun Kaneko: In the Round is sponsored by Wells Fargo. Exhibition organized by The Mint Museum.