MELFORT — The work of the Saskatchewan folk artist Frank Cicanksy along with his son Victor Cicanksy is on display at the Kerry Vickar Centre in Melfort for the month of June.
The exhibit, titled “Keep on Going,” is being toured through the province by the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC). It features Frank Cicanksy’s paintings, sculptures and craft objects, as well as his son Victor’s ceramics and sculptures.
Frank Cicansky was born in Romania in 1900, before immigrating to Canada 26 years later, and settling in the Dirt Hills area south of Moose Jaw.
The artist wouldn’t begin painting until the 1970s, but before then he worked with wood, making toys.
As a folk artist, Frank created in a naïve art style, which is usually defined as visual art created by an artist without formal education or training that a professional artist undergoes. These pieces typically have a childlike simplicity and frankness.
Frank’s art is often created from his memories of the hardships of his pioneer neighbours and the immigrant experience.
His son, Victor Cicansky, is one of Saskatchewan’s best-known ceramic and bronze sculptors, receiving the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 1997 and Order of Canada in 2009.
Victor describes his work as being inspired by his love of gardening, growing up with cabbages, potatoes and corn in the landscape he knew as a child.
In a video recorded for a 2019 show at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Victor described the feeling he had back then as “magic.”
“That feeling has always stayed with me, and I think it’s because of those experiences I became a sculptor and using backyard garden images in my work,” he said.
He added that he believes the problem today is that people have completely lost touch with nature.
“It’s like standing at the top of a mountain and starting a snowball, you create work and then work will make more work for you. It’s as though you invent an idea and the idea takes over,” Victor said.
“I’m interested in trying to find how far I can push clay and make it interesting. Think of it in terms of my own work. What can I do to make an impression? Get people thinking about their own lives and what they can do.”
The Cicanksy pieces are on display in Melfort from June 1 until 23.
The exhibit is being curated by Jennifer McRorie, the director and curator of the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery.