Kaneko is one of the most respected ceramic sculptors in the United States. He is best known for his enormous clay Heads and his Dangos, which are five-ton monolithic shapes reminiscent, in scale, of ancient standing stones. Although his primary material is clay, Kaneko was invited to do an artist residency at Bullseye Glass Company in Portland, Oregon, in 1998. It was during this residency that Glass Sticks was conceived. The work was completed there, under Kaneko’s supervision, in 2001. Kaneko is influenced by Asian aesthetics and Zen ideology, and he considers his creative process to be a spiritual process. “To make each decision during the creative activity of art making is such a mysterious act,” Kaneko says. “It is impossible to define each creative move or the decisions that take place in the art-making process.” Glass Sticks is a study in material, and the most distinctive quality of this material—glass—is its transparency. Unlike ceramics, which are often opaque, thick, and solid, glass is light and airy, and it allows color and light to pass through its mass. The sculpture itself is not a solid mass, like some of the other sculptures in this gallery. Kaneko made it truly transparent by leaving space between the glass bars. This sculpture is formed of 104 stacked glass bars, 26 on each side. Each bar consists of up to 10 layers of colorless and red glass that were fused in several firings. When they had cooled, the bars were cut, ground, and polished. The colored layers of glass are on the bottom, fading to transparent at the top.