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.
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.
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.