(Nagoya, Japan, 1942 - )
Jun Kaneko was born in Japan during World War II and immigrated to the U.S. in 1963 to study painting in California, but he was soon caught up in the West Coast’s Clay Revolution. He studied with Peter Voulkos, Paul Soldner, and Jerry Rothman, exploring unorthodox and expressive options to functional and ornamental ceramics traditions. He evolved a signature sculptural style characterized by glossy surfaces that function like monumental shaped canvases for his splattered and dripped, abstract-expressionistic paintings.
Kaneko taught at two of the top design schools in the country, Rhode Island School of Design and Cranbrook Academy of Art, for more than a decade before opening a huge studio in Omaha, Nebraska. That work space has recently morphed into Kaneko, an energetic, non-profit alternative space that fosters creativity though artistic production and performance.
Over the course of his career, Kaneko’s art has found its way into more than forty museum collections, including that of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He has had more than eighty solo exhibitions in galleries and museums since 2000, and he has completed more than two dozen public art projects around the world. He has won numerous state, national, and organizational awards, and he has received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London. The compact, prolific, and peripatetic artist continues to travel and exhibit extensively, experimenting with costume and stage design while maintaining his Herculean efforts to make monumental polychromatic ceramic forms that take weeks to assemble, months to dry, and industrial-scale facilities to fire.