Between Painting & Sculpture – Handmade Oval Ceramic Forms by Jun Kaneko


I think from someone looking at an object stylistically you tend to not analyse and break down the different elements that go in to it. All the little nuances really define the final outcome and are very important to the overall aesthetic, take even one of these away and you’re left with something totally different. Colour plays a big part, before I would say “muted tones” appealed to me but that’s not enough to classify what the composition of a colour is. It’s only since I’ve experimented with ceramics myself that you realise how hard colour is to get right, especially when conveying a physical representation of an idea that you have in your mind. Is it shiny or matt, rough or smooth, how does it reflect light, is the shade correct, it’s quite complex and there are infinite possibilities.

These ovals by Jun Kaneko are quite a fascinating approach to colour combination on ceramic forms, they bridge that gap between painting a sculpture. Using mainly primary colours he’s been able to create appealing artworks which date back many years and still look contemporary even today. Born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942 Kaneko studied painting and later moved to the United States to continue his exploration in art. After being introduced to prolific ceramics collector Fred Marer, Jun was drawn to sculptural ceramics and studied with with Peter Voulkos, Paul Soldner, and Jerry Rothman in California during the time now defined as The Contemporary Ceramics Movement in America.

Although the colours are stimulating on the eye, his works of lesser colours are more intriguing. For example the black oval with two simple lines drawn across the middle, or the natural swipe across using a paintbrush (notice the small blue square inconspicuously painted at the bottom), everything has it’s place and the colours are made to juxtapose one another. This is not an easy thing to do and I’m a real admirer of his creative spirit. Hopefully you like this selection that I’ve picked out and will go ahead and browse other work on his website linked below, from bronze sculpture, to painting and installations, it’s quite mesmerising the amount of work he’s been able to create throughout his lifetime.