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Steppeland Summer

by Jean Richardson

Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 50 x 70 x 1.5
Gift of the artist and through the generosity of Joanna Champlin, 2011

Steppeland Summer by Jean Richardson

The Artwork

Jean Richardson is an artist best known for her large abstract paintings of horses. An artist with a lifelong interest in the Western "myth" she uses the a contemporary style of painting to find deep connections to the frontier west.

According to Richardson, "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. . . 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."

The Artist

Born in Hollis, Oklahoma, Jean Richardson earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, then studied at the Art Students League in New York. In the 1970s, Richardson returned to Oklahoma where she set up her studio. She quickly began to make a name for herself as a regional artist with her Oklahoma Album Series which found inspiration from photographs of an bygone era. Around this time, Richardson was selected for inclusion in the Oklahoma Annual at the Philbrook Art Museum in Tulsa and began to show in galleries. Soon her work was being featured in one-person exhibitions across the country, and she was participating in the United States Art in the Embassies Program where the works of living American artists are placed in U.S. Embassies around the world. Richardson's style began to explore the line between abstraction and representation of the figure. At this time, Richardson began to experiment with the deconstruction of an image. Then using the motif of a horse, she began to explore themes of energy and motion.

Richardson's work has been featured in numerous magazines including
Southwest Art and American Art Collector Magazine. In 2009, she was the subject of the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority's (OETA) documentary series Gallery. Her work can be found in many permanent collections including the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Tupperware Corporation in Orlanda, Florida, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, and the Phillips Petroleum Corporation in Washington, D.C.