Victor Cicansky, CM, sculptor, teacher (born 12 February 1935 in Regina, SK). A sculptor who specializes in ceramics but also works in bronze, wood and steel, Victor Cicansky founded the Regina Clay Movement with Joe Fafard and David Gilhooly, which garnered international attention and demonstrated that ceramics could be sculptural, irreverent and of the moment. Cicansky received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 1997, was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2009 and received the Saskatchewan Lieutenant-Governor's Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts in 2012. His work is on display at the Burlington Art Centre, the Charlottetown Museum of Fine Arts, the Gardiner Museum in Toronto and the National Gallery of Canada, among others.
Early Life, Education and Career
Cicansky grew up the eldest son in a large Romanian family in Regina. He dropped out of school in grade nine, worked as a carpenter, and returned as a mature student at the University of Saskatchewan, where he received a BEd in 1964. He earned a BA from the University of Regina the following year. While teaching elementary and high school, Cicansky took pottery classes with Beth Hone and Jack Sures at the Regina College School of Art’s Extension Program. In 1967, he participated in a ceramic residency at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine, where he met the iconoclastic ceramist Robert Arneson and followed him to the University of California, Davis, where he attained an MFA in 1970.
Cicansky returned to Regina and taught at the Regina Board of Education (1960–67), as well as the University of California, Davis (1968–70. He also taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (now the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University) (1973), the Banff School of Fine Arts (now the Banff Centre for the Arts) (1972) and the University of Regina, both in the Faculty of Education (1970–84) and the Visual Arts Department (1984–93).
As a child, Cicansky’s family grew their own garden vegetables, which he attributes to the recurring imagery of fruits and vegetables in his work. He also embraces popular and regional iconography such as outhouses, Volkswagens and canning jars. He draws inspiration from his garden and pantry for his ceramic narratives, which explore rural themes that engage in Prairie imagery and the universality of the regional, all with a wry sense of style.
Throughout his career, Cicansky has completed many public art commissions, notably The Old Working Class and The New Working Class for the Government of Saskatchewan’s Sturdy Stone Centre in Saskatoon (1978–81); The Garden Fence ceramic mural for the CBC building in Regina (1981–84); and The Garden of the Mind bronze sculpture for the lobby of the College of Agriculture building in Saskatoon (1992). In 2009, the Grow Regina Group commissioned a sculpture to mark the entrance for a community garden.
Honours and Awards
Saskatchewan Order of Merit (1997)
Member, Order of Canada (2009)
Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, Saskatchewan Lieutenant-Governor's Award (2012)