As part of the Lunch with the Arts lecture series, the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery hosted faculty artist Lynn Richardson to speak about her art in the past and her pieces currently showing in the Faculty Artists Gallery in the Thorne.
Richardson grew up in Winnipeg, Canada and received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Manitoba. She then went on to earn her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Texas.
“It was nuts—when I first moved to Austin, they had an ice storm and I remember thinking, ‘What are you all complaining about? Just get in your car and just drive.’ I thought that using kitty litter instead of sanding trucks was just ridiculous,” Richardson said.
“I actually had no money, so I took a four-year long gap between my undergraduate and graduate studies just to build up a huge portfolio. I worked at the University of Manitoba as the sculpture studio technician, so I could go to the University of Texas with a full ride, and UT was awesome, mostly because they had a ton of money,” said Richardson about her time in Austin.
Richardson’s lecture was a part of the Outstanding Women’s Faculty lecture series put on by the art and design departments and was also a part of the Outstanding Women’s Awards.
Richardson said, “[The lecture is] part of a new series put on by the Thorne Gallery called Lunch with the Arts, which is for full-time art and design faculty to be lecturing to the students about their artwork so more students can know what we’re doing.”
“My artwork is about exploring the North, and I grew up in such a polar region so our whole life revolves around negative 50-degree weather so my work stems from Canadian politics and looking at social systems. I use the environment as a way to talk about issues with politics; but also, I find that for me to travel extensively so that I can step back and look back toward Canada, I can make my own interpretation or statement to say what’s going on in my home country,” Richardson said.
Richardson added, “You just need some distance ad some perspective, so that’s why I tend to travel. Also, the nice thing about it is to just see different things. Everything’s the same here [in Keene]. Square buildings, square windows. Nothing really changes; maybe if you go to New York City you see some interesting architecture. It helps me to get out of this same environment.”
Richardson said about her piece “Inter-Glacial Free Trade Agency,” “When I was going to UT, we grew up learning about NAFTA [the North American Fair Trade Agreement], and it just seemed like it was the back pages of the New York Times and there were a lot of negatives that came out of NAFTA for Canadians, which was with this whole lumber problems and two money systems that didn’t work out very well. I decided I would start the Inter-Glacial Free Trade Agency and would corner the market when the next Ice Age comes and sell to people in the future, including South America. It was a line of survival gear and it was also mocking the change in the landscape which would change our clothing we would wear and the makeup we put on and even the food that we eat. It was like a trade show.”
First-year Natalie Wood said, “It was really insightful. I liked how she tied in her view on climate and bringing Canada into her art. I really liked it because she did talk about the climate and I, personally, want to help fix the climate. It was cool that she made something beautiful that other people might see as scary.”
Emma Johansen, a senior who attended the lecture, said, “It’s interesting because I’ve never really seen her work before. It’s really nice to understand her background and what she’s done and how it’s influenced what she teaches.”
Tom Benoit can be reached at