The artistic universe of Regina artist Victor Cicansky is firmly rooted in his garden. For over fifty years, ideas for sculptures in ceramics and bronze have grown out of his intimate relationship with the plants and trees of his back yard. His approach embraces both the immigrant knowledge of his Romanian-Canadian family and more contemporary concerns around urban ecology and environmental sustainability. Rooted in local realities, his work speaks to the wider world of the joys and trials of supporting life in an urban prairie space.
This retrospective exhibition brings together over 100 ceramic and bronze works that present a richly layered picture of Cicansky’s career. Drawn from 39 public and private collections in Canada and the United States, the selections embody the energy of Cicansky’s varied production. Challenging craft expectations of pottery and furniture, Cicansky engages the language of making to celebrate “hand smarts,” as his blacksmith father called them. From the iconoclastic experimentation of his student days in California, to the recognition of his prairie immigrant roots, to his celebration of shovel to plate gardening — Cicansky has unearthed a politics of place using humour, play, and provocation.
The work of Victor Cicansky asserts that history and locality are vital sources for healthy creative expression, just as gardens are essential for the health of our bodies and the planet. This exhibition celebrates a “garden universe” — as Regina writer Trevor Herriot calls it — and marks Cicansky’s lasting contributions to Canadian art and craft history.
The exhibition is organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery and curated by Timothy Long, Head Curator, MacKenzie Art Gallery, and Julia Krueger, Curator and Craft Historian, Calgary.