Ssome teachers are fortunate to know the positive impact they have had on their students. Dick Ibach, an art teacher at Spokane Falls Community College for more than 20 years, was one of them.
“I was totally influenced by [Dick’s] its patterns and foreshortenings, its perspective, color palette and textures,” says Tim Lord, a successful artist who took Ibach’s classes in the mid-1970s and is curating a retrospective of Ibach’s work at the New Moon Gallery which will open on June 3.
Ibach also instilled in Lord the understanding that being an artist is hard work. This has discouraged other students, but not Lord, who now lives in Seattle but still exhibits locally, including last November at the New Moon Gallery, as well as The Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene this spring.
“I’ve seen through it all [Dick’s] harshness,” Lord says, noting that as a “young punk out of high school,” Lord appreciated Ibach’s extreme candor and pushed him to do better.
“If you get Cs and Ds, it just means you have to try harder,” says Lord, who got A’s in Ibach’s class and realized early on that to be successful he had to think about the beyond the classroom.
“Art students think the competition is sitting next to them,” Lord says. “It’s not; it’s the real world out there.
Lorder recalled see Ibach’s crazy-colored narrative paintings in only two previous local spaces: the former Lorinda Knight Gallery in 2007 and at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in 2018. Would Ibach be interested in exhibiting again, he wondered? .
“I called him and we talked and he was so excited about it,” says Lord, who contacted Ibach in late December 2021. Although Ibach was interested, he also confided that he was not feeling well. and that he didn’t have the strength to pull off the Show.
“Three days later [Dick] passed away,” Lord said.
Although discouraged, Lord wrote to Ibach’s wife, Susan Ibach, offering her condolences and willingness to continue the exhibition. When Susan agreed the exhibition should go on, Lord quickly mobilized her support to create a cohesive exhibition from Ibach’s more than 200 paintings.
Lord worked with Michele Mokrey of the New Moon Gallery to begin planning and enlisted the help of local photographer Dean Davis and Karen Kaiser, curator of education at Gonzaga University’s Jundt Art Museum. Former SFCC instructor Tom O’Day, a longtime colleague of Ibach’s, has agreed to help organize and hang the exhibit, which runs until June 25.
The process was hard work, says Lord, who is glad he was able to honor his former instructor.
“[Dick] died thinking he was going to have this huge show,” Lord says. “He died, I don’t know…with happy thoughts.”
Memory: Dick Ibach • June 3-25; open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. • Free • New Moon Gallery • 1326 E. Sprague Ave. • manicmoonandmore.com • 509-413-9101