Shannon Richardson’s work exudes an honesty and immediacy that speaks to her sensitivity to expressing the human experience. Based on personal recollection, but with a slight twist, the painter presents us with impressions and illusions of events as they have developed in her mind over time. The scenes are ethereal, giving life to a story that feels familiar, yet foreign and unreal. Richardson’s sense of voice in these paintings engage her audience in an intimate way; the depictions of adoration, helplessness, and hope are instinctual as if tapping into a shared consciousness.
She writes, “The work transcends the boundaries between memory and fantasy with an added element of the fantastic; this infuses the works with a sense of romance and reverie. I am able to take some of the gravity of life and turn it into something tangible and beautiful, but not quite real. They are memories as I wish I could remember them. The truth becomes the fable and what I find is not myself, but more the shadow of self and the remnants of dreams. This is a way to be honest without being accurate. In the most private of settings painting allows me to commemorate the occasion of self-discovery, and to understand, with sensitivity, the severity of being honest with myself.” The painter, while seeking authenticity, also allows her perceptions of truth to naturally evolve with time. Her personal testimony is quietly disguised as a moment within layers of story depicted in paint.
She enjoys the act of painting as a therapeutic process. Within her technique, the artist allows her characters to transform and emerge from the canvas as she makes alterations, and contours according to her own whims, accidents, and where the physicality of the paint takes her. She finds her work to be a dialog between editing and spontaneity. Each piece results from finding balance between a refined technique and the unique narrative that has woven itself into the scene. While the paintings hold private undertones grounded in Richardson’s memories, they are presented to her viewers as avenues through which they can find their own introspective truth.
Richardson earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Her work has earned her many awards, including the William T. Colville Grant, a Finalist place in both the 2005 and 2010, Art Kudos International Exhibitions, and an award in the Blanche Ames National Art Competition. She has shown across the United States, including Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, and Washington. Her work is widely collected across the US, Germany, and Italy.
Portrait by the Sea
Oil on canvas painting by Shannon Richardson. Canvas 9 x 12 inches