Jean Richardson, American (1940 - )

Artist's Statement

The image of the horse is the perfect vehicle to express my true subjects; motion and energy.  The horse as a real being is lovely in itself and I enjoy the power, the speed, and the physical beauty of the animal.  My paintings, however, take this real image and make it a symbol.  The horse as a metaphor for the human spirit; unbridled, striving, sometimes heroic, often restless, full of energy, floating above us, calling us to other realms.

    I propose that this is not a new theme.  Every culture has had at the center of its stories about itself a mythical figure of the horse.  From the incredible images on the walls of prehistoric caves, to the tales of Norse mythology, to the modern play “Equus”, the horse has been powerfully represented in the arts.

    In this tradition, but in the contemporary vocabulary of twentieth century painting, I have tried to explore my subject and find therein my own emotional response.

                                                                                Jean Richardson

   About the Artist

Jean Richardson is an artist best known for her large, abstract paintings of horses.  Using a palette of jewel tones and deep earthen hues, she splashes colors across a heavily textured background letting her image emerge.  Almost hidden in an explosion of brush strokes, the horses of Richardson's imagination plunge and leap across her canvas.  

    An Oklahoma native, Richardson has had a lifelong interest in Western "myth".  Although she uses the contemporary vocabulary of modern painting, she finds deep connections to the frontier west.

Selected Quotations

Quotations from “Turning Toward Home: The Art of Jean Richardson”:

“Her horse is a symbol for the human spirit, passionate, unbridled, resolute.”

“Jean Richardson belongs to a modernist tradition that fuses the spiritual with the abstract.”

“She is adamantly devoted to an art that is abstract rather than non-objective; in her painting she transforms reality rather than repudiates it.  But Richardson’s reality is not that of everyday external appearances.  She generates her paintings from spontaneous gestures initiated in her subconscious.  Her nearly automatist expression, in which she pursues imagery that arises from her manipulation of the medium, is risky and revealing.  Richardson seeks to both develop and destroy the image, to achieve a perfect suspension of form and content.  This gives much of her art the feeling of a balancing act.  The viewer has the sense of being on the edge of something, of trying to grasp a vision that slides in and out of focus.”

Quotation from “National Gallery Guide”, December 1990

“Jean Richardson paintings seem to express to us the spirit and energy of the American West.  The wild abstracted horses of her ‘Sky Herds’ are like a pageant acted out upon the grand stage of the prairie skies.  Yet the subject matter is only incidental to the emotional content of these paintings, where exuberance, grace, energy, and joy are the themes woven into painterly, textured canvasses.

Selected Bibliography

    Born in Hollis, Oklahoma

    Education
        B. F. A. Wesleyan College, Macon, Georgia
        Art Students League, New York, New York

    Books and Monographs
        Turning Toward Home, The Art of Jean Richardson by Dr. Joan Carpenter Troccoli, Denver Art 
            Museum, published by John Szoke Graphics, New York, New York, 1998
        Plains Myths and Other Tales - A catalog of Jean Richardson paintings published by John
            Szoke Graphics, New York, New York, 1988

    Periodicals
        Equine Images- Feature Article Summer 1990
        Santa Fean - Cover Features November 1987 & January-February 1984, Santa Fe, New Mexico
        Western Art Digest - Feature Article January-February 1986
        Southwest Profile - Feature Article May-June 1985
        Art Gallery Magazine - Feature Article February-March 1 985

    Selected Credits
        Who's Who in American Art, Who's Who in the South and Southwest
        Small Works Exhibition, Thomas Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma
        Collection of Oklahoma Artists, State of Oklahoma
        Minnesota Museum of Art "West 80" Exhibition
        "Oklahoma Annual" Exhibition, Philbrook Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma
        National Academy of Design
        Bravo Colorado - Cover Artist/Colorado Summer Music Festival 1992

    Solo Exhibitions
        John Szoke Gallery, New York, New York
        Merrill-Chase Galleries, Washington, D.C. & Chicago
        Cogswell Gallery, Vail, Colorado
        J. F. Fine Arts, Scottsdale, Arizona
        Kneeland Gallery, Sun Valley, Idaho
        Lucas Gallery, Telluride, Colorado
        Editions Limited, Indianapolis, Indiana
        Ventana Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
        Pickard Gallery, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
        Rice Gallery, Denver, Colorado
        State Capitol of Oklahoma, Governor's Gallery

    Public Collections
        The Bank of Santa Fe, New Mexico
        University of Oklahoma College of Law, Norman, Oklahoma
        Southwestern Bell, Washington, D.C.
        Phillips Petroleum Corporation, Washington, D.C.
        Arthur Anderson Companies, St. Charles, Illinois
        Marriott Hotels Corporation, Washington, D.C.
        State Collection of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
        AT&T, San Ramon, California
        Yellow Freight, Kansas City, Missouri
        Raymond James Financial, Inc., St. Petersburg, Florida
        Dean A. McGee Eye Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
        Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
        Tupperware Corporation, Orlando, Florida

Artist's Gallery


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