For Jim Brickl, 2015 has been a year filled with change, and that has allowed him to spend time making art.
In January, he and his brother, Stan, announced they were simplifying the ownership of their two West Salem businesses — Brickl Brothers Inc. and Select Trusses and Timber. While Stan took over sole ownership of Brickl Brothers, Jim became sole owner of the other business.
At the time, the brothers, who have been involved with the Brickl Brothers design/build firm for more than 40 years, said the move was to simplify and “put things in order for the next generation of leadership.”
Since Jim currently works part-time at Select Trusses, he now has an opportunity to pursue an interest that he had once abandoned. “I did a lot of photography when I was younger and then I quit, but I’m getting into it again,” Brickl said.
Brickl’s photographic exhibition at the Marie W. Heider Center for the Arts gallery this month — “Footsteps of Man” — makes clear that his passion for photography is deep-seated. And the 30 or so colorful, large-format pictures on display in the Heider gallery make for a thoughtful and entertaining show.
As the title indicates, Brickl is especially interested in the intersection of history, culture and nature. He said the Coulee Region possesses “limitless” opportunities to explore such topics. His photographs make good use of intense color, and Brickl does not crop the photos on a computer as many might do.
“These photos are ‘as is,’” he said.
Brickl said it’s stimulating to go out on the back roads on weekends looking for that perfect shot, although sometimes he has to take care he doesn’t drive off the road. “I don’t hunt,”Brickl said, “but I like to capture unique things that people don’t always see.”
In some ways, Brickl sees himself as a curator of the past. “This area is blessed with plentiful history,” he said. “A photograph can revisit time and put in perspective the effect that time and nature have on an environment.”
As far as long-range plans, Brickl said he hopes to do more art shows in the future. This particular show will be at the Heider gallery through September. Also at the gallery during September is a display by Holmen’s “milliner extraordinaire” Deborah Olson. An assortment of Olson’s funky, creative and award-winning hats will be available for viewing as well.