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Randolph, Lynn, 1938- | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Randolph, Lynn, 1938-

Historical Note:

Lynn Randolph is an artist, feminist, and human rights activist whose work spans the past four decades, from the 1960s to the 21st century. Reared in the refinery town of Port Arthur, Texas, she obtained a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin in 1961. After receiving her degree she moved to Houston, where she has lived and worked ever since. Randolph’s paintings have been exhibited widely in the United States and reproductions of her work have appeared in books, journals and academic papers throughout the world.

In the late 1980s, Randolph received several important awards. In the summer of 1987 she went to Yaddo, the artists colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. In the summer of 1989 she started a year-long residence at The Bunting Institute (now the Radcliffe Institute) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Lynn Randolph’s paintings have been in well over fifty exhibitions. Her one-person exhibitions have been scarcer, because she works slowly and meticulously. She calls her work metaphoric realism. The paintings have been predominantly figurative, until the last eight years when she started painting images of the Texas coast. Her most recent work uses birds as metaphors for angels, inspiration and witnessing. Occasionally she is moved to address specific cultural and political injustices, as in her painting entitled The Coronation of St. George, which was reproduced on the cover of The Nation magazine, during the Republican convention in New York in 2004. Another painting depicting the administration of George W. Bush called Scenes from Hell, was also published in the Nation as a full-page, color reproduction in 2007.

Randolph’s paintings are in the permanent collection of several major museums and institutions, including The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.; the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University; the Menil Collection in Houston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the San Antonio Museum of Fine Arts and the Arizona State University Museum of Arts in Tempe.

From 1990 to 1996 Randolph engaged in a collaboration with the cultural critic Donna Haraway. This work was a dialogue of specific ideas and critiques relating to the use of technoscience at the end of the millennium and formed the images and text for Haraway’s book, Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan_Meets_OncoMouse. Many of these images have been reproduced internationally in books, journals and academic papers. Randolph has also presented numerous lectures and conference speeches across the United States since the early 1980s.

Throughout her professional life Lynn Randolph has been involved with civil and human rights issues. When her children were young and their school was integrated, causing “white flight” from the neighborhood public school, she stayed put. She wrote lesson plans for grades one to six, and trained forty volunteers to teach art to all of Poe School’s students. It is now a fine arts magnet school with a paid art teacher. She was a charter member and chapter president of the Houston Women’s Caucus for Art, and served as the regional vice-president for the national board. In 1988 she co-chaired the national meetings of the Women’s Caucus for Art that occurred in Houston. In 1984 she and her friend Suzanne Bloom were co-organizers in Houston for Artist Call against U.S. intervention in Central America, an organization based in New York City.

In 1992 Randolph became a member of WAC, the Women’s’ Action Coalition, also a New York group. She helped organize the group’s actions in Houston during the Republican convention. WAC brought its drum corps to demonstrate during the convention, and Randolph helped WAC add more drummers from Houston. The Houston drum corps continued long after the convention. They were known as the Ilusas (deluded women) and Randolph performed with them until they disbanded in 1997.

In 1993 Lynn Randolph went to El Salvador with curator and museum director, Marilyn Zeitlin, to help organize an exhibition of Salvadoran artists called Art Under Duress: El Salvador from 1980 to Present. The show was mounted at Arizona State University Museum with a catalogue and video tapes. It traveled to Houston and was shown at Lawndale Art Center where Randolph was a member of the artist board until the 1990s.

Lynn Randolph is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where she works with patients and staff in the Palliative Care Unit.

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