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Celebrated Regina Artist Jack Sures Dies at Age 83

Celebrated Regina Artist Jack Sures Dies at Age 83

Topics: Saskatchewan

Regina ceramic artist Jack Sures died this past Saturday, in Regina. He was 83.

Jack Sures was born in 1934 in Brandon, Manitoba, and grew up in Melita and Winnipeg. He completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the the University of Manitoba in 1957, and his masters degree in Painting and Printmaking from Michigan State University in 1959. He then returned to Manitoba to teach junior high school for one year before travelling around Europe and the Middle East for several years, visiting galleries and working in London and in Cyprus and Israel.

In 1962, he returned to Canada to set up his own ceramics studio in Winnipeg, where he worked until 1965. He then moved to Regina to set up the Ceramics and Printmaking program at the University of Saskatchewan's Regina Campus. During this time, ceramics in Regina began to flourish, and Sures had the opportunity to work with both established artists and gifted student including David Gilhooly, Victor Cicansky, Ann James, and Marilyn Levine. Sures was known for his energetic dedication to both his art and his teaching. Levine said, “He came in at eight a.m. and worked all day. I watched his pots flow off the wheel to the kiln and back again. Yes, it was his energy, his discipline. If it hadn't been for Jack, I probably would have thought artists sat around waiting for inspiration.”

Sures went to Japan in 1966 after receiving a Canada Council grant to work and study there, and in 1972 went to Paris after receiving a Senior Canada Council grant. In 1973, he was asked by the United Nations Handcraft Development Program to set up a ceramics program in Grenada. In between these trips and after his work in Grenada, Sures returned to Regina, where he continued to teach until his retirement in 1998.

During his teaching career, Sures was the recipient of numerous commissions, including pieces for the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Sturdy Stone Provincial Office Building, the University of Saskatchewan, and the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre. His work has been exhibited throughout Canada and internationally.

Sures received many honours and awards, including the Grand Prize at the International Ceramics Competition in Mino, Japan (1989), the University of Regina's Alumni Association Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and Research (1991, 1992), the Order of Canada (1991), the Canada 125 Medal, and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit (2003) and the 2018 Governor General's Award for Excellence in the Fine Crafts.

Sures’ work is represented in numerous collection, including the MacKenzie Art Gallery (Regina), Saskatchewan Arts Board, Pecs National Museum (Hungary), Canada Council Art Bank (Ottawa), Winnipeg Art Gallery, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canadian Guild of Crafts (Montreal), and Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon).

Of his lifelong passion for his work, Sures said, “My love of clay as an expressive material, with its innate ability to create any and all other materials, its ability to reinvent itself every time it is touched, has endowed my life with a richness and completeness that few people seem to achieve in their lifetimes. My hope is that this richness and completeness is reflected in the work and this spirit is transferred to the viewer.”

Jack Sures died May 12th in Regina, after falling ill while visting Ottawa to receive the Governor General's Award for Excellence in the Fine Crafts.


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