Distinguished Canadian sculptor Jack Sures [BFA/57] dies at 83
Jack J. Sures, one of Canada’s foremost ceramic artists, died May 12 in Regina, only a few weeks after receiving the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. His clay work, known for its whimsy, is said to challenge the distinctions between craft and fine art.
“Jack Sures was a rare talent in the Canadian ceramic world,” said Mary Ann Steggles, Professor in the University of Manitoba’s School of Art. “His presence within the Canadian ceramic community will be sadly missed.”
Born in Brandon in 1934, and raised in Winnipeg, Sures attended the University of Manitoba, where he was president of the Art Students’ Club. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, he earned an MA in painting and printmaking from Michigan State University, then travelled through Europe and the Middle East for several years before setting up a ceramics studio on Portage Avenue. There, with a colleague, he built Manitoba’s first gas kiln and taught pottery classes, charging $12 for a six-week session.
Sures counted Albrecht Durer, Paul Klee, and Hieronymus Bosch among the artists who influenced his work. Besides his fine art, his most notable projects include murals for the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa and the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture.
In 1965, he moved to Regina to establish a ceramics and printmaking program at the University of Saskatchewan’s Regina campus, now the University of Regina. He taught there for 33 years while also travelling abroad as a consultant, lecturer, and teacher. On commission from the United Nations, Sures worked for a year in Grenada, building a ceramics industry. He also contributed to the arts scene at home as a board member of the Canadian Conference of Arts and the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts, and as a juror for the Canada Council.
Sures retired as professor emeritus in 1998 but continued to pursue his craft and inspire artists around the world. His multiple honours include Companion of the Order of Canada, Japan’s Mino Grand Prize for Design, and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.