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Daily Art Moment: James Lavadour

“Those familiar with the work of renowned Oregon artist James Lavadour (Walla Walla, b. 1951) may be surprised to encounter this expressive and figurative monotype. Lavadour is best known for his passionate and richly hued paintings, drawn from his experience of the lands near his home on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Earlier in his career, human figures appeared throughout his work, often with skeletal or animalistic features. This figure is more of a suggestion of a human body, armless but with head, ribs, and belly visible. The red form seems to be dramatically engulfed in flames that rise above and to the left of the frame as if pushed by the wind. The chaos of this dramatic scene is underscored by the swirling dark pigment that serves both as a ground or foundation for the figure and indicates the hand of the artist who created this tormented scene. Although this monotype was produced over twenty-five years ago, the presence of fire and turmoil in our lives today makes this work especially apt.”

Kathleen Ash-Milby, Curator of Native American Art

James Lavadour (American and Umatilla, born 1951). Untitled, 1996. Color monotype on paper. The Vivian and Gordon Gilkey Graphic Arts Collection, 1998.46.658 © James Lavadour