Cfile is based in Santa Fe, NM, a culturally active town of 80,000 people, 14 museums and a international Opera season. In the past month is had show, three major exhibitions that could have graced a New York Gallery: Denmark’s Bodil Manz’s largest US show with her daughter, a leading designer, Cecilie; Ken Price with Georgia O’Keeffe, and a large exhibition by Jun Kaneko. Add to that an exhibition touring the US (now at the Gardiner Museum, Toronto after New York) by Santa Fe artist, Cannupa Hanska Luger, and stunning new work by Kukuli Velarde.
SANTA FE––Jun Kaneko has always pushed the boundaries of ceramics. The artist came to prominence in the 1960’s and 1970’s California Ceramic Revolution and is an international pioneer in the ceramics world. His signature monumental dangos, which can measure more than 6 feet tall and weigh nearly 1,500 lbs, each are technically deft as well as visually compelling, displaying a profound understanding of the material.
Kaneko’s contributions to his field continue as the artist develops new glazes and explores various techniques. This exhibition, Jun Kaneko, An Abundance of Presence (August 23 – October 26, 2019), is the artist’s largest to date at the Gerald Peters Projects, and brings together two of his most recent advances in the field of ceramics: raining blue indigo glaze and experiments in raku.
In his current body of high-fire clay dangos, Kaneko features the blue glaze washing down the surface like driving rain. Developed over two decades of experimentation, the glaze grew out of a desire to capture the color of sixth- and seventh-century Chinese porcelain, which was adopted by the Dutch in their Delftware in the seventeenth century. As the original glazes were lead-based, he ceased production in the mid-1990s. Now, twenty years later, Kaneko brings us his transformation of this historically significant glaze.
Accompanying these works is a fresh selection of raku ceramics. Kaneko worked in raku firing in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but nearly forty years passed before he decided to return to the technique in 2014. Collaborating with Juan Sanchez at his studio in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Kaneko successfully cast a 6.5-foot sculpture that was then raku fired––surpassing the previous limits of the technique. Inspired by this great achievement, Kaneko has continued his explorations with raku, experimenting with new forms and glazes.
Jun Kaneko was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942. He studied painting with Satoshi Ogawa during his adolescence––working in his studio during the day and attending high school in the evening. He came to the United States in 1963 to continue his studies at Chouinard Institute of Art when his introduction to Fred Marer drew him to sculptural ceramics. He studied with Peter Voulkos, Paul Soldner, and Jerry Rothman in California. The following decade, Kaneko taught at some of the nation’s leading art schools, including Scripps College, Rhode Island School of Design and Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Based in Omaha since 1986, his artwork appears in numerous international and national solo and group exhibitions annually, and is included in more than seventy museum collections. He has realized over thirty public art commissions in the United States and Japan and is the recipient of national, state and organization fellowships. Kaneko holds honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska, the Massachusetts College of Art & Design and the Royal College of Art in London.
––Garth Clark, Cfile.org Founder + Editor in Chief