MARSHALLTOWN Grinnell native Michael Rickard is the next featured artist at the newest exhibit in Ray Frederick Gallery, room 306, on the Marshalltown Community College campus. The exhibit opens with a reception at 12:30-2 pm, Wednesday, February 27, and will be on display through noon Friday, March 29. This month's exhibit will feature Rickard's photography work he has compiled throughout his life.
"The title of my exhibit is People, Places, Faces and Things," says Rickard. "It is an eclectic body of my work from the late 1980s to the present. It is an attempt to convey the changes that I have experienced in my life, not only as an artist/photographer but also how all our lives are effected by the people, places, faces and things that mold us as individuals along our life journey. It furthermore follows, to some degree, the changes in technology that have impacted photography as an industry and as an art form. From film, darkroom and chemicals to digital capture and the new darkroom-the computer."
Growing up in Gilbert, IA, Rickard enjoyed sports, fishing, hunting and anything else outdoors. He was the youngest of five children and six years younger than his next oldest sibling. "I believe the age differential from my siblings is a big reason for my active imagination and creativity," says Rickard. "I often played alone while my brother and sisters were busy with more grown-up things. Having a highly developed imagination as a child, really helped to foster my creative abilities."
After graduating from high school, he attended William Penn College in Oskaloosa. "I liked to draw and build things but until I got a camera I had no real outlet," says Rickard. "In my twenties I bought a good camera and started night classes in basic and then advanced photography. Having my own darkroom at home really got me motivated to continue to make images."
In 1993, Rickard was offered a teaching position at Hawkeye Community College to teach the Portrait, Business and Wedding photography portions of their Professional Photography degree program. "During that 4-year stretch, I found myself in a creative playground and was able to start, once again, to explore the artistic and creative gifts that dwelt within. It was at that time that I knew that I wanted to be the best I could be as a photographic artist."
Kodak, Fuji, The Professional Photographers of Iowa and other professional organizations have recognized Rickard's images for their excellence. Kodak chose one of his works for display at the Epcot Center in Orlando, FL, and others have traveled internationally in the Professional Photographers of America traveling loan collection.
"Currently my work is all digitally produced. Techniques are no longer limited to what you can manually do in the darkroom. I love the freedom this gives me to experiment anyway I want, as an images comes into being."
In 1995, Rickard received "Iowa's Top Photographer" award and in 1996 was recognized with "Iowa's Top Certified Professional Photographer" award.
"I hope that my images have a visual impact on the viewer," says Rickard. "I want the guests to be able to relate to the images from an artistic and emotional perspective. Another goal of the exhibit is to show how the process for creating photographic art has changed over time."
Rickard has been married to his wife, Nancy, for 44 years. They have two children, Jeremy and Jessica. Rickard and his family currently reside in Traer, IA, where he operates a custom matting and framing shop/gallery, "Art and Frame off Main."
"We're lucky to have Mike come to Marshalltown and share his photographs with the community, and this is a treat for all the photography enthusiasts in this area," says MCC Art Professor Tim Castle.
The Ray Frederick Gallery is open on weekdays from 9 am 5 pm. Visitors are reminded that the gallery will be closed from Monday, March 18, to Friday, March 22, for spring break.