FLINT, MO.- The Flint Institute of Arts has just acquired a major ceramic sculpture by the renowned artist Jun Kaneko. The 6 4 (human life-sized), monolithic dango (the Japanese word for dumpling) arrived at the FIA on Thursday, June 29, and was donated by Alan and Kelly Ginsburg in honor of the birthdays of Flint philanthropists and FIA supporters Art and Bess Hurand.
Jun Kaneko was born in 1942 in Nagoya, Japan where he studied painting during his high school years. He came to the United States in 1963 to continue his studies at Chouinard Institute of Art in Los Angeles. Kanekos focus turned from painting to sculptural ceramics through his introduction to Fred Marers extensive collection of contemporary American ceramics. Kaneko continued his studies at University of California at Berkeley and at Claremont Graduate, studying under Peter Voulkos, Paul Soldner, and Jerry Rothman all influential artists in California during the time now defined as the contemporary ceramics movement. He later taught at some of the nations leading art schools, including Scripps College, Cranbrook Academy of Art and Rhode Island School of Design.
Kanekos painting background is evident in the sculpture donated to the FIA, as his large-scale, dumpling-shaped sculpture becomes a three-dimensional, inflated canvas for his graphic, yet painterly, rhythmic designs of lines and dots. His works are enigmatic and elusive, simultaneously restrained and powerful, Eastern and Western, static and alive, and intellectual and playful.
Kanekos simplified forms, as well as his unrivaled technical achievements in ceramics, make this work seem effortless. In fact, the process Kaneko employs to produce such a sculpture, weighing over 800 ponds, is anything but simple. For example, after construction, he work generally takes four months of drying time and up to a 35-day firing process.
This ceramic sculpture by Jun Kaneko will be on display at the Flint Institute of Arts beginning September 30, 2006, when the building reopens after completion of Phase II of its major renovation.