Richard Thompson grew up in the Pacific Northwest and his work expresses an embedded love of nature. The artist draws from both high and low sources—compositional devices derive from vintage cartoons, and color pools are reminiscent of French modernist Raoul Dufy. He paints fisherman casting into idyllic settings with lakes, forests, and fish that all but jump into their nets. Thompson is a printmaker and painter by training. At times, he experiments with sculptural objects in conjunction with his paintings, both as surface and assemblage.
After graduating with a BFA and MFA in painting and drawing from the University of New Mexico (1966-72), Thompson was invited to take part in the Whitney Biennials of 1975 and 1981. From 1985 until 1991, he taught art at the University of Texas at Austin and he was instrumental in the local art communities of San Antonio and Austin, including co-founding San Antonio’s Blue Star Art Space in 1986. He left Texas in 1997 to become Dean of Alfred University’s School of Art and Design in Alfred, New York.
Thompson has held artist residencies in New Mexico, Oregon, and Australia. Besides being invited twice to participate in the Whitney Bienniel, he was included in such exhibitions as Fresh Paint: The Houston School (1985) at the Museum of Fine Art, Houston and P.S.I., New York (curated by Barbara Rose), Texas at the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands (1987), Richard Thompson: A Survey of Paintings and Drawings 1990-99 at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX (2000), and Richard Thompson: My Nature at Alfred University’s Fosdick Nelson Gallery. Annette Carlozzi selected Thompson for inclusion in her 1986 artist anthology, 50 Texas Artists.