Jun Kaneko: A Stage for a Shared Dream / Locks Gallery, Philadelphia

Jun Kaneko contemporary ceramics exhibition at Locks Gallery

Jun Kaneko: A Stage for a Shared Dream / Locks Gallery, Philadelphia
May 2-31, 2014

Locks Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of ceramic works by the artist Jun Kaneko, alongside video excerpts of the artist’s opera design for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Stemming from his ongoing concerns regarding spatial relationships and installation, Kaneko has fluidly moved between his sculpture and theater practice. The late art critic Arthur C. Danto applauded Kaneko’s previous opera design (for Madama Butterfly) stating that, “The production unfolds like a shared dream.”

The exhibition highlights the imaginative color palettes along with the bold and organic patterns that have become a creative signature for Kaneko’s interdisciplinary aesthetic. Discussing his glazing process, the artist remarked that, “I start thinking about orchestration of the colors around the work as a whole… sort of like a symphony. Everything has to make an interesting harmony to become one, to be there as one statement.”

With this installation of Kaneko’s Dango (freestanding stele forms) and wall-mounted slab works, a new conversation can begin between the artist’s studio and his contributions to the opera stage. Within the varying forms of his Dangos, their figurative presence is transformed to the theatrical. The exhibition is presented on the occasion of the east coast debut of The Magic Flute at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. alongside an installation of monumental Dangos in the Hall of Nations.

Jun Kaneko (born in Nagoya, Japan) lives and works in Nebraska. The artist has shown extensively in the U.S. since 1964 and has had exhibits in Finland, Norway, Japan, South Korea and Canada. Kaneko’s work is in over fifty museum collections throughout the world including the Arabia Museum, Helsinki, Finland; Detroit Institute of Arts; Los Angeles County Art Museum; Museum of Art and Design, NY; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Phoenix Art Museum; Rhode Island School of Design Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 2013, Kaneko’s recent sculptural works were the focus of a large-scale installation in Millennium Park in Chicago.

Kaneko’s design for the opera Fidelio debuted at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia in 2008. The east coast debut of his design for the opera Madama Butterfly became the catalyst for a citywide celebration in Philadelphia with sculptural exhibitions at the Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza, City Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and at Locks Gallery.

Coinciding with the Locks Gallery exhibition is a sculptural installation in the Kennedy Center’s Hall of Nations from April 9th through May 19th, 2014. The Magic Flute— featuring Jun Kaneko’s set, projection, and costume design—will run at the Kennedy Center from May 3rd through the 18th, 2014.

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Jun Kaneko: Black & White / Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona

Jun Kaneko Black and White ceramics exhibition at Bentley Gallery

Jun Kaneko: Black & White / Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona
January 9 - February 28, 2014

Many Arizonans are familiar with Jun Kaneko’s large-scale ceramic dango sculptures (Japanese for dumpling) at Sky Harbor Airport, and his ceramic tile wall in front of Phoenix Art Museum. Bentley Gallery will be exhibiting his monumental glazed dangos and heads covered in geometric shapes and pure color. The sculptures are made with large amounts of clay, slowly built by hand using the slab technique. The glazing on Kaneko’s new works are reminiscent of his classic dangos, punctuated by graphic polka dots, spirals, stripes, and zigzags in pure black and white. These rhythmic designs are analogous with the Japanese Shinto concept of the Ma, which loosely translates into “attachment through space.”

Born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942, Kaneko came to the U.S. in 1963 and studied at the Chouinard Institute of Art. His innovative work is in more than 70 international museum collections including Arabia Museum, Helsinki, Finland; Detroit Institute of Arts; Houston Museum of Fine Arts; Los Angeles County Art Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Art and Design, NY; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Phoenix Art Museum and Smithsonian American Art Museum. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska, the Massachusetts College of Art & Design and the Royal College of Art in London.

This past summer, a large scale outdoor exhibition of Kaneko’s Tanuki sculpture (a symbol of fertility and prosperity) was installed at Millennium Park in Chicago. In 2012 his costumes, sets and lighting designs were featured in the San Francisco Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. He has also created costumes, sets, and video backdrops for Madame Butterfly, which began touring in 2006 and is still in production today. The artist lives in Omaha, Nebraska.

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