Some teachers have the good fortune of knowing the positive impact they’ve had on their students. Dick Ibach, an art instructor at Spokane Falls Community College for more than 20 years, was one of them.
“I was totally influenced by [Dick’s] patterning and his foreshortening, his perspective and his color palette and his textures,” says Tim Lord, a successful artist who attended Ibach’s classes in the mid ’70s and is organizing a retrospective of Ibach’s work at New Moon Gallery opening June 3.
Ibach also instilled in Lord the understanding that being an artist is about hard work. That put other students off, but not Lord, who now lives in Seattle but still exhibits locally, including last November at New Moon Gallery, as well as The Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene this spring.
“I saw through all [Dick’s] sternness,” Lord says, noting that as a “young punk out of high school,” Lord appreciated Ibach’s extreme candor and pushing him to do better.
“If you get Cs and Ds it just means you have to try harder,” says Lord, who got As in Ibach’s class and figured out very quickly that to succeed he’d need to think beyond the classroom.
“Art students think the competition is sitting next to them,” says Lord. “It’s not; it’s the real world out there.”
Lord remembered seeing Ibach’s wildly colorful narrative paintings in only two prior 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 showing again, he wondered.
“I called him up 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 he wasn’t feeling well and lacked the strength to pull off the show.
“Three days later [Dick] passed away,” Lord says.
Although crestfallen, Lord wrote to Ibach’s wife, Susan Ibach, offering his condolences and willingness to continue with the exhibition. When Susan agreed the show must go on, Lord quickly mobilized support to create a cohesive exhibit from Ibach’s 200-plus paintings.
Lord worked with New Moon Gallery’s Michele Mokrey 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, agreed to help curate and hang the exhibition, which runs through June 25.
The process has been a lot of work, says Lord, who is glad he could honor his former instructor.
“[Dick] died thinking he was going to be having this huge show,” Lord says. “He died, I don’t know…with happy thoughts.”
Remembrance: Dick Ibach • June 3-25; open Wed-Sat 11 am-5 pm • Free • New Moon Gallery • 1326 E. Sprague Ave. • manicmoonandmore.com • 509-413-9101