‘Obsessing’ over Kaneko’s collection in Omaha

Kaneko

Jun Kaneko has created impressive “Head” sculptures.

Jun Kaneko can be counted on to have impressive exhibits at his gallery in Omaha’s Old Market. Sitting next to a brick street, the gallery at 11th and Jones opens the galleries to a variety of contemporary artists. This time around, though, the artist shares his collection alongside the others.

With “Passion and Obsession: From the Collection,” visitors will see early pieces of Kaneko’s work, as well as rarely displayed artwork by international artists. “Passion and Obsession” runs through May 6. The main gallery on the first floor features a rotating exhibit of Kaneko’s early works. Some of his work from the 1980s will be displayed until Feb. 17. His 1990s work will be on display Feb. 24-March 31. From April 7 until May 7, the gallery will feature some of his art from this century.

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Some of the art pieces from Jun Kaneko’s 1980s work.

Of course, Kaneko’s famous head sculptures are located in the main gallery. They represent his work over the four decades he has called Omaha home. They are popular pieces that are located in museums, galleries and other spots around the country. We’ve seen his work in different Midwest cities we’ve visited.

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Kaneko’s famous “Heads” sculptures.

Wall slabs he created are displayed as part of Kaneko’s collection. I don’t recall having seen any of them before, so it was interesting to take in some new pieces from a great artist.

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Wall slabs.

The guest exhibits were as interesting as Kaneko’s work. Manuel Neri offers a look at some beautiful ceramic pieces. His “Four Seasons” was created in 1986. Each of the four pieces offers its own beauty.

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Manuel Neri’s “Four Seasons.”

Viola Grey was known for her ceramic works featuring men and women. Each exhibit was colorful and eye-catching. Grey, who passed away in 2004, was a California artist known for creating large pieces.

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Viola Grey’s ceramic figures.

Robert Arneson’s “Local Service Call” caught my eye right away. I liked the sculpture that was created in 1992. Arneson perfectly captured the human form of communication.

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Robert Arneson’s “Local Service Call.”

Sunkoo Yuh’s pieces reminded Lisa and me of “Alice in Wonderland” characters. The colorful ceramic pieces he creates combines his Korean art background and the contemporary style he has excelled in.

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Sunkoo Yuh’s works remind us of “Alice in Wonderland.”

Japan’s Goro Suzuki challenges the traditional art that he learned as a young man by mixing his own style. A piece may resemble Japanese traditional art, but he will have added a flair to it, creating his own style. Suzuki brings that style to the horses and chairs on display at Kaneko.

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Goro Suzuki’s Horses and Chairs exhibit.

The second-floor gallery blew us away with some Kaneko pieces we’d never heard about before. Mythology and Wave Wall are the results of new techniques developed by Kaneko about 10 years ago. Mythology used about 60,000 glass threads to create the 42-foot long black and white piece.

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Kaneko’s “Mythology.”

Wave Wall was a smaller piece and mixed blue with black as the primary colors. The piece was created from fused glass.

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Wave Wall.

Our final look at Kaneko’s collection was a gallery featuring his “Spirals,” as series of drawings.

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Kaneko’s spirals art.

Each visit to the Kaneko gallery is a lesson in art. I’ll never be one who can be called an art connoisseur, but I do enjoy the beauty art brings to the world. We recommend checking out the Kaneko and seeing the home artist’s works while they are being shared.

For more information on the Kaneko, please visit www.thekaneko.org.