Tag Archives: Ceramic Sculptures

Jun Kaneko


Jun Kaneko, ceramic sculptural artist.



Two dango sculptures by Jun kaneko

Jun Kaneko, 2012



Jun Kaneko was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942 and went to the USA in 1963. He began studying ceramic art at the Chouinard Institute of Art in California where his focus became drawn to sculptural ceramics. He expanded his studies  in contemporary ceramics with Peter Voulkos in Los Angeles and also Paul Soldner and Jerry Rothman. He has since pursued a dynamic and varied studio practice in painting, sculpture, ceramics and installations, and he’s currently based at his third studio in Omaha, Nebraska. Jun has blazed a trail in ceramic innovation with his pioneering work in the creation of tall and rounded, monolithic glazed structures known as dangos ( Japanese translation – dumplings or rounded form ). This has required the redefining of technical and artistic boundaries as his sculptures are of a size that is challenging in the firing process and for the structural integrity of this type of ceramic form. Some sculptures can weigh in the vicinity of 1000 lbs.  After construction, his work generally takes four months of drying time and can have up to a 37-day firing process. Even larger than his dangos are his human head ceramic sculptures, three of which were on view in 2008 on New York City’s Park Avenue Malls. Kaneko’s work is engaged in serious explorations of order and disorder, simplicity and complexity and deliberate action and spontaneity.

jun kaneko photo portrait

Kanekos’s professor at the University Of California , Peter Voulkos, stated :  “Kaneko’s ceramic works are an amazing synthesis of painting and sculpture. His works are enigmatic and elusive, simultaneously restrained and powerful, Eastern and Western, static and alive, intellectual and playful, technical and innovative”

Kaneko’s exceptional artistic accomplishments in public art, set design, and architectural projects have led to his work  now being displayed in over fifty museum collections throughout the world including 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 and Smithsonian American Art Museum.

I think it is truly fantastic to see ceramic sculptures successfully manifested on this scale.




Dango sculpture with a geometric surface pattern - Jun kaneko

Dango ceramic – 2011

  ( Elaine Baker gallery )

3 dango's by Jun kaneko

Locks Gallery


un kaneko sculpture

Jun Kaneko



Dango sculpture installation - Jun Kaneko

Mission Clay Pittsburgh Project

Jun kaneko dango sculpture with a geometric striped pattern

Locks Gallery


Jun kaneko dango installation

This photo exemplifies the bold rhythmic patterns Jun likes to use on the surface decoration of his giant ” 3d canvases “

Monumental Dango sculpture Jun kaneko

Mint Museum – North Carolina


Kaneko on the spatial conceptualization of his work ( interview with Mary Mcinnes)


So when I’m making small piece, I don’t want to give a chance to the viewer to step back and then look around and look at my piece. I just want them to just grab right into it. They look at it. They’re drawn to it. Just go straight into the piece. If that was possible, this viewer is not outside the work anymore. They’re feeling inside the work. Therefore, they can’t compare this and that. They are it.
So that’s why I think, if I did make a small piece to draw people immediately into the piece, I call that a pretty successful piece for me as a small object. And then, I call that a spiritual scale. So that’s my interest. And it goes same way to the large-scale piece, too, in a lot of ways, because as I said, if you start comparing with nature, then the big piece could be just like a dust. So the point to the scale, to make a sense as a visual artist, is just pull them into it. Then, they just don’t have a chance to compare. They will become the thing itself almost.


void dish by Jun Kaneko

Oval galzed ceramic plate – Jun Kaneko

Dango with a spiral swirl motif - Jun kaneko




Striped head ny Jun Kaneko

Kaneko ceramic head – Maui Hawaii

huge sculpture head by Jun kaneko

Philadelphia City Hall – 2009

Geometric patterned dango by Jun Kaneko

Stoneware glazed triangle Dango -2005

‘Spotty’ Dango sculpture – Jun Kaneko

Monumental striped heads by Jum Kameko at Palm Beach

Monumental heads –  Palm Beach County Convention Center.

( Pic by Lauren Lieberman/Lila Photo )Jun kaneko sculptural ceramic art

Jun Kaneko 1991

Locks Gallery

Dango sculpture in blues by Jun Kaneko

Jun Kaneko

Jun Kaneko at the set design for Puccini's Madam Butterfly

Jun’s set design for Puccini’s Madam Butterfly

Dango public sculpture by Jun Kaneko

Public Dango art at Omaha

Jun Kaneko abstract panel, black on white

Untitled wall slab – Jun Kaneko

Monumental head sculpture in black and white by Jun Kaneko

Ceramic head sculpture – Philadelphia City Hall – 2009

Jun Kaneko Dango sculpture in black and white

Untitled, Dango

oval plate by Jun Kaneko - abstract geometric decoration

Oval Dish

huge head with a spiral patterned face - Jum Kameko

Joslyn Art Museum Sculpture – Jun Kaneko



Kaneko Omaha dango sculpture

Public Dango ceramic art – Omaha



Dango sculpture with stripes and dots - Jun Kaneko

Jun Kaneko

public dango sculpture by Jun Kaneko

The Nevica Project

Jun Kaneko sculpture 2007

Jun Kaneko

Jun Kaneko monumental sculpture in black and greys

Untitled, 2007   Glazed stoneware. Courtesy of Jun Kaneko and Locks Gallery. Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Contemporary sculpture by Jum Kaneko

Untitled, Dango

dango exhibition - Jun kaneko

Washington State University, 2001
Hand-built glazed ceramics, granite sculpture

large striped dango ceramic sculpture by Jun Kaneko

Ceramic Dango sculpture – San Francisco International airport

Jun kaneko violet sculpture

 Hand-built glazed ceramic – Inakigu Restaurant, 2010

Jun Kaneko working in his studio
Pittsburg Project
Mission Clay, Pittsburg Project, 2004-2007

dango sculpture by Jun kaneko

Jun Kaneko Dango Sculpture  2012

Locks Gallery


Pittsburg Project, USA

Kaneko on Park Avenue Installation

Here is the link to Jun Janeko’s website



figurative clayart sculptures


From the first time Neanderthal man held aloft a lump of clay contemplating what he could use it for, he more then likely posed the question …  functional or decorative?  ” Will I make a bowl for eating my nuts and berries or should I indulge my creativity and make a clay statue of my beautiful wife. How about a sun-dial so I don’t sleep in.  Maybe I could do some raku, but first I have to figure out how to make fire….”
On a more serious note, clay figures have been around for a very long time and I speculate that their earliest use would have been for some kind of idolatry.

The figure sculptures of  Greek Antiquity were not naturalistic, for their forms were idealized and geometric. Figurative art is itself  based upon a tacit understanding of abstracted shapes.This has been referred to as the ” Egyptian method ” where there was an  adherence to that which was already known, rather then what was being witnessed. This  idealization eventually gave way to observation, and a figurative art which balanced idealized geometry with greater realism was seen in Classical  sculpture by 480 B.C. This reliance on visual observation was known by the Greeks as ” mimesis “. This style of figurative art , characterised by attempts to reconcile these opposing principles, remained until the time of the Impressionists.

A figurine is a statuette that can represent a human form, a deity or an animal, and can be either  realistic or iconic.  The earliest were made of stone or clay, and later versions were made with ceramics, metal , glass and wood.

Terracotta Isis

This terra-cotta figure is in honor of the goddesses Isis and Aphrodite.

(  Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. )

The most common materials for figurines were porcelain and various ceramics.. There are many early examples from China where it originated, which drove  experimentation in Europe to replicate the process. The first European porcelain figurines were produced in a process mastered in Germany were known as Meissen ware,  after the city where it began.

The ushabti was a funerary figurine used in Ancient Egypt. Ushabtis were placed in tombs among the grave goods and were intended to act as substitutes for the deceased, should he/she be called upon to do manual labor in the afterlife. They were used from the Middle Kingdom (around 1900 BC) until the end of the Ptolemaic Period nearly 2000 years later.
Most ushabtis were of minor size, and many produced in multiples – they sometimes covered the floor around a sarcophagus. Exceptional ushabtis are of larger size, or produced as a one of-a-kind master work.
The ushabtis were servant figures that carried out the tasks required of the deceased in the underworld.

Here is a collection of figurines ranging from ancient to modern :

Kate Gardiner – odyssey-center

Isis and Horus Statue

Isis and Horus

Lidija Tkalcevic – ACGA  ↓

Lidija Tkalcevic figurine

Cheryl Tall Osirus Clay Statue

Osirus  2010 – Cheryl Tall

Eel Walker – Mark Newman

This sculpture was eventually cast in bronze.

Artful Ceramics

)Charlene Doiron Reinhart

Charlene Doiron Reinhart

liz bryant ceramic figurative sculpture

Liz Bryant

the buddhabuilder

the buddhabuilder

figurative sculpture

Windy by Piotr Konsk

NEW YEARS DIVA 2 by Nicole West

NEW YEARS DIVA 2 by Nicole West


Patricia Boyd  ↓

Tribal Stand

boyd kindred spirits sculpture

Kindred Spirits 11

Blessed Harvest – Patricia Boyd

Contemporary Sculpture

” Can you see me ”  Adele Macy

Virginia Rigney

Marina Bauguil  

ceramic figure HeartBird

Heart Bird – Marina Bauguil

marina bauguil ceramic figure


Tree Spirit

Obsedian ceramic-figure

Obsedian ceramic-figure

Fred Yokel

Female Effigy Vessel

Democratic Republic of Congo. Mangbetu. Early 20th century

At the time, elongated foreheads were considered highly attractive. To achieve this look, royal women wrapped their heads with rope and wove their hair into a conical basket structure.

Sherri_K_McEuen ceramic figure

“Dynasty Ceramic Sculpture”

Sherri K McEuen

Engel Raku Keramik figure

Ceramic Angel Raku Keramik figure

Margit Hohenberger

Mouseweb – Michelle Hall

Art Deco Figurine

Art Deco Figurine

Whisper – Marina Bauguil

Sally Hook figurative sculpture

Sally Hook –  Jongleur noir et blanc

Artist  Sally Hook –   Jongleur  Jeune et Rouge