Gadsden Museum of Art
Jimmy Rickles - A Retrospective Exhibition
September 12 - October 10, 1999
Gadsden native, Jimmy Rickles, has been producing art for over fifty years. The Gadsden Museum of Art is hosting an exhibition of his work entitled Jimmy Rickles - A Retrospective Exhibition, through October 10, 1999. On view are drawings, oil paintings and prints showing the diversity of his art.
As a teenager in the 1930's, Jimmy Rickles had already discovered his life's passions : painting and the ministry. By the age of 16, his two ambitions had taken him away from home and on the road to a colorful life. Rickles left Gadsden in 1938 to study the ministry at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. After attending school and working as an illustrator for the college's yearbook and for Pathway Press, a major book publisher located in Cleveland, Rickles and his wife, Lucille, departed for the Southwestern United States to work as missionaries for the Church of God.
Their first stop was in Roswell, New Mexico. From there, they worked in many cities including Montgomery, Alabama; Pueblo, Colorado; Sarasota, Florida; Severville, Tennessee; Brownfield, and Edenburg, Texas. While serving as Church of God State Youth Director of New Mexico in 1940 and 1943, he was continuously in the art communities of the Southwest.
Along the way, Mr Pickles produced large illustrations for outdoor advertising agencies. He also created expansive paintings on walls and ceilings in many churches across the country. While in Sarasota, Mr. Rickles studied at the American Academy of Art.
In the early 1960's, after returning to Gadsden with his wife and sons, Larry and Jerry, Mr. Rickles worked as an artist for Andrews Signs and the City of Gadsden. He continued to study art at both Gadsden State Community College and Jacksonville State University. As one of the first members of the Noccalula Art League and Gadsden Art Association, Mr. Rickles helped found Art on the Rocks, a successful art festival at Noccalula Falls Park.
Today, his work can still be seen on many billboards and signs in Northeast Alabama, and on murals in the Gadsden Public Library. Working in pencil, acrylics, watercolor and other media, Mr. Rickles paints outdoor scenes, portraits, abstracts and an array of other subjects. His paintings can be found in many private collections.
Now in his late 70s, retired after pastoring nine churches and producing hundreds of paintings, Mr. Rickles remains an avid art lover and major collector. Jimmy Rickles - A Retrospective Exhibition features many scenes from his time in the Western U.S. His self portrait, portrait of his wife and several of his mixed media, abstract paintings are also included.
Gadsden Museum of Arts is located in the Elliott Community Center, 2829 W. Meighan Blvd. Gadsden, Alabama. See website of museum for hours and fees.
Photos courtesy of Gadsden Museum of Arts.
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