Richard Legg, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Biology at St. Ambrose University.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, he joined the faculty in 1978. His academic training, beginning at Fordham University and finishing at Texas A&M University, led to a specialty in the natural history and evolution of mammals.
Since his retirement from SAU in 2012, he has busied himself painting clouds, reviewing the Beethoven cello sonatas, and teaching his grandchildren the fine art of New York sarcasm.
He continues to live in Davenport, Iowa with his family and his oppressive dog Quip.
Exhalation - Landscapes by Richard Legg
In her preface to Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald writes, "The landscapes around us grow emptier and quieter each passing year." Amidst that growing quiet is the din of our daily news cycle, and an even more ominous contemporary roar in the Sixth Extinction, the accelerating and terrifying loss of species in the Holocene, our current geological epoch. With such cacophonous sounds in my ears, I have found myself drawn back repeatedly to landscapes' emptiness and quiet, and to simple themes. Landscape, even as pedestrian as the views along Old Highway 61 in Scott County might seem, is a source of daily drama, and my work is my means of spending more time in its company. Humans' effects upon our environment, and landscape, are outsized to our individual presences. Clues abound in testimony to our power, perhaps as slender and ubiquitous electrical and communication lines that tether us in modern life, or as sky scarring aircraft contrails signaling aircrafts' enormous production of climate change inducing CO2.
As a biologist, I was brought to drawing and painting as a way to be faithful to my recurring admonitions to students always to take more time, and to look more closely, when making observations. I'm grateful to artistic mentors like Kristin Quinn and Les Bell who helped me hone my observational vision, but even more so to my students who never relented in their teaching of me. I hope that a visit with my work will encourage you to look anew at landscapes passing by your car window, and encourage you to revisit your own contributions to them.
Landscapes by Professor Emeritus of Biology Richard Legg, PhD. Visit the gallery by appointment.