Ceramics Monthly on Jun Kaneko:"The Surface Figures; The Figure Surfaces"

Edward Cella
Jul 1, 2016 11:38PM

We are so pleased for gallery artist, Jun Kaneko, whose sculptures Glen Brown calls "a harmony of the eternal and the ephemeral, of geological epochs and biological lifetimes, of the persistence of inanimate matter and the fleeting, nebulous nature of the living," in Ceramics Monthly.   

  Installation of Tanuki at Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois, each up to 8 ft. 9 in. (2.6 m) in height, handbuilt glazed ceramic, 2013.

  

Brown begins, "An artist’s acumen is often measurable by the degree to which his or her work is apparently straightforward, even elementary, yet impossible to imitate without invoking that artist’s presence. Who could paint a composition of three vivid, nested squares without instantly referencing Josef Albers or a trio of stratified rectangles of feathered color without simultaneously conjuring Mark Rothko? And who could create anything approaching a Dango, reductive as it may appear, without immediately calling to mind Jun Kaneko? Uniting the vertical grandeur of an ancient stele, the mysterious polished purity of a Shiva lingam, and the flat, bold, and patterned compositions of Color Field painting, Kaneko’s Dangos are, despite their affinities for minimalism, among the most immediately recognizable of contemporary ceramic sculptures—indeed sculptures in any medium. Such monopolizing of otherwise unremarkable form takes a certain genius. Like the late paintings of Matisse, the Dangos are deceptively simple, but there is simply nothing else like them."

"To describe Kaneko as a master ceramic artist might seem to belabor the obvious, but in fact it obscures to the point of misrepresentation the complex sensibility that accounts for his work." 

 "If his glazed surfaces offer occasional allusions to the decorative schemes of historical pottery they are inseparable from the innovative current of non-objective painting that swept from late Modernism not only the remains of representation but also the last vestiges of intimacy of scale. If his monumental Dangos can be compared to oversized vessels, albeit ones in which function falls to an autonomy of form, they are engineering feats more typical of architecture than of pottery. If his sculptures are physically composed of clay, they are constituted conceptually as much in the immateriality of space as in the physicality of three-dimensional form. Kaneko is—like Isamu Noguchi, the great Modernist murmurer of poetry in stone and void—as attuned to the tremulous energy of landscape, literal or figurative, as to the ponderous stillness of the monolith that stands within it. His art transcends any particular medium to embrace the deepest sources of effectiveness in all media, whether he is working in clay and glaze, glass, paint, or even stage-set design."  

  You can read the full article in Ceramics Monthly hereThis article was published in Ceramics Monthly online and in print in March 2016.

Edward Cella