Thomas Riesing was a Professor and Director of the School of Art at Ball State University from 2010-2015, and a Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Tennessee from 1973 to 2010. He served as a visiting professor at the University of Texas in San Antonio in 1992; the National Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava, Slovakia in 1993; Beihang University in Beijing, China in 2009; and the Eugeniusz Geppert National Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland in 2013 and 2018/19. Since 1995 he has been a visiting artist/lecturer at eighteen different universities and academies in China including the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, Sichuan University in Chengdu, Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts in Chongqing, Guangxi Normal University in Guilin, and Fujian Normal University in Fuzhou. He was awarded the position of Guest Professor 2000-05 at Sichuan University. He has been the recipient of numerous Professional Development Awards and an NEH Endowment grant from the University of Tennessee to facilitate his work in China. He was also the recipient of the Ellen McClung Berry Professorship for Art at the University of Tennessee from 1999-02 and again in 2002-05. He received a Lily Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship in 1978.
Riesing has exhibited his work extensively in the USA and abroad. He was one of three western artists invited to participate in the 1998 Asia-Pacific Contemporary Art Exhibition in Fuzhou, China. In February of 2008 he had a two-person exhibition, Under the Peaceful Sky, at the Blue Dreamland Gallery in Chengdu, China, and in June of 2009 he had a two-person exhibition, Shared Spaces, at the Beihang University Gallery in Beijing, China. He had a solo exhibition at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland in May of 2014. His work is in many public, corporate, and private collections including Coca-Cola in Atlanta, GA; Tennessee Valley Authority in Knoxville and Chattanooga, TN; Opryland, Inc. in Nashville, TN; Northern Telecom Corp. in Nashville, TN; Zhongyin International Industrial Corp. in Fuzhou, China; Miami University and Miami Fine Arts Gallery in Oxford, OH; Davidson College Art Gallery in Davidson, NC; Sichuan University in Chengdu, China; and the Knoxville Museum of Art in Knoxville, TN. His curatorial work includes eight exhibitions featuring Chinese artists. Two of which are Writing the Real, 2006, an exhibition of drawings from the Central Academy of Fine Art; and Tradition and Transnationalism: Three Chinese Artists, He Gong, Gu Wenda, and Chen Danqing, 2001.
He attended the University of Nebraska from 1966-73 where he received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees. He was the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Alumnus Achievement Award from the Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska.