For the past 14 years Bob Rickels has been an active YAM (Yellowstone Art Museum) docent. He is always ready to give tours, present Art Suitcases, attend events and meetings, or just wander the galleries studying the art. He is a tall, distinguished gentleman who is a reminder of what that description can mean. His life has been a journey of learning and sharing.
Born in 1923, “in the middle of the east central Iowa cornfields”, Bob was the son of a Lutheran pastor. He attended school in a two-room schoolhouse, then attended Bethany College in Minnesota, Concordia University near Chicago, and the University of Montana. Chicago gave him the opportunity to spend time at the Art Institute of Chicago, roaming the halls, appreciating the art, and taking classes.
Bob’s long commitment to teaching art (49 years), his love of Montana, his time studying art with Peter Voulkos and Rudio Autio, and his development of the Art Department at Concordia University St. Paul are only part of his life’s journey. His wife Tomi and daughter Kris are also familiar faces around the Museum and community, and are companions in his many ventures. He is an artist in his own right. Working in ceramics, wood, metal, and jewelry, he has left his legacy in churches and homes from Minnesota to Montana. For those of us who know and have been taught by him, his legacy is in our hearts.
Written by Linda Ewert, Photo by Berenice Munson
“In the process of naming/titling this exhibit it suddenly struck me that the name could be separated into noun and verb. Earth does work, all the time, and it is this constant of life process which is the inspiration behind each piece.
“The process of creating does not always (if ever) illustrate literal growth in nature but the final form is the product of observation, wonder and discovery. Can any source be more basic to expression than clay – dirt if you will – to delight the artist?”