This collection of photographs by artist and educator Michael Fickes explore the notion of permanence through the evolution of aesthetics and design. Michael’s work focuses on American culture and the shifting American landscape. This photographic series has been collected in his first book, also titled Cinema Drive.
Born in York, Pennsylvania, Michael Fickes is a 2010 graduate of Millersville University with a degree in Art Education. He has worked professionally as a photographer, digital photo retouch artist, and as a graphic designer. Currently, he is a member of the Visual Art Faculty at The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Michael’s work has been exhibited throughout Pennsylvania, including gallery exhibits in York, Lancaster, Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley. Most recently his work has been shown at Pink Slime Gallery in Philadelphia and at the juried photo exhibition at The Banana Factory in Bethlehem as part of the 2018 InVision Photo Festival.
His first book of photography, Cinema Drive was published in November, 2017. Copies of Cinema Drive will be available to purchase through the Susquehanna Art Museum Gift Store.
Plan Your Visit
Date: February 15 – March 24, 2019
Venue: DeSoto Family Vault
Exhibiting Artist: Michael Fickes
In the neighborhood where I grew up there was once an iconic drive-in movie theater. My mother and father had gone there on many summer nights in their youth. The drive-in closed shortly before I was born, but the business maintained a small indoor theater. I hold fond memories of seeing movies there with my grandfather; the smell of buttered popcorn and the dust floating in the projector light.
Throughout my youth the abandoned structures of the drive-in towered in the neighborhood. Vines climbed the screen, the pavement cracked, and the speaker stands tipped. Eventually the indoor theater was closed as well and the property sat vacant.
In my teenage years the cinema structures were bulldozed to make way for new development. A gas station was built, then a hotel, and a shopping center. The landscape was dotted with tan plastic, large windows, and freshly laid sod. In a nod to what had been, the road that winds through was named Cinema Drive.
Though I am relatively young, with each passing year I see more of the objects, styles, and buildings of my childhood fall out of favor or into disrepair and be replaced by new. This visual changing of the guard fascinates me.
In these photos I am observing this change. I am collecting souvenirs; visual mementos of things I know will not last forever. I am documenting decay and cataloging the juxtaposition that happens in the process. It’s the visual narrative of my life.
If we take this visual phenomenon and apply it to our lives it is easy to see the tangible changes as metaphor for our own existence. Is what we are doing actually an improvement? How long will the things we make stand? How long until we are forgotten? Perhaps all we can do is mourn the loss, evaluate the progress, and accept the reality. It is my goal to capture the beauty in between.
Third in the Burg
Friday, April 19, 2019
5:00 – 8:00 pm