People / Jack Wise

Artist, educator. Jack Marlowe Wise was born on April 27, 1928 in Centerville, Iowa. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Washington University, St. Louis and a Master of Science in Art from Florida State University. Wise met Toni Onley while living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico from 1958-1961, who told Wise about life in Vancouver. Upon return from Mexico, although successful, Wise quickly became unhappy with what he was producing and gave up painting for a few years. He took a position as an art director at an advertising firm in San Francisco and, shortly after, he immigrated to British Columbia, living off the land in the interior of the province. Having gone through a catharsis as the result of the physical labour of homesteading, Wise resumed his painting practice. He had his first Canadian solo exhibition at the New Design Gallery in Vancouver in 1965.

He won a Canada Council Senior Fellowship for travel and study of Tibetan Art in India in 1966. During the year overseas, he traveled to a Zen Buddhist monastery in Japan, to Delhi, and to Tibetan refugee camps in Northern India. The exposure to Asian art techniques, works of art, thought, and religion profoundly altered his artistic practice. In 1967, Wise started a longstanding exhibition relationship with the Bau-Xi Gallery in Vancouver. He traveled to Europe after receiving a Canada Council Senior Arts Award for Residence in Europe in 1969. He spent much of his time in Spain and exhibited at galleries in Edinburgh, London, and Heidelburg. After several years living between various homes in Victoria and on islands off the coast of Vancouver Island, Wise moved to a cabin on Denman Island for the final years of his life. He passed away in 1996.