The Centre for All Canadians
Untitled, 1987, underglaze pencil, black glaze, porcelain, 12 x 49 x 49 cm. Collection of the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery

Tactile Desires: The Work of Jack Sures

Untitled, 1987, underglaze pencil, black glaze, porcelain, 12 x 49 x 49 cm. Collection of the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery
"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."
-Jack Sures
Hand Built Pot, 1968, oxides, fibreglass stoneware, 59.5 x 60 x 60 cm. Saskatchewan Arts Board Permanent Collection

For five decades, Jack Sures has demonstrated a profound understanding of the nature of clay. His practice—ranging from pots to sculptural forms to large-scale murals—brings together his own roots and poetic muse with the recent history and artistic traditions of ceramics and pottery. As a ceramist, he has grappled physically and intellectually with materials, forms, and themes while exploring perceptual processes. He has resolved these challenges through tactile, hands-on work, through devotion to studio practice, and through a commitment to constant innovation.

In looking at Sures’ life and career one sees an artist whose experience crosses over into several disciplines. The construction of his oeuvre, technically and thematically, stems from a diverse range of experiences and encounters. Often reacting to situations intuitively, he relies on what is available in his environment in order to create solutions. As such, one can consider Sures a bricoleur—someone who makes creative and resourceful use of whatever materials are at hand. His work exemplifies the interaction between touch, material and experience as the conceptual foundations behind the creation of art.

In a society suffering from a repressed sense of touch, Sures’ artwork reawakens tactile desires through surface textures and forms. He exploits, in the best sense of the word, that naturally seductive association between touch, surface and sensuality within his work. His pieces tantalize viewers and reveal how the artist himself has gloried in the juiciness of clay as a material—a discovery and a celebration that is contained in each and every piece that he creates.

Virginia Eichhorn
Exhibition Curator

Timothy Long and Julia Krueger
Associate Curators

Tactile Desires is organized and circulated by the MacKenzie Art Gallery and the Tom Thomson Art Gallery with funding from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage.

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