James Lavadour, Missoula Art Museum

James Lavadour: Horse Stories
Missoula Art Museum
February 15 – May 25, 2012

James Lavadour
Missoula Art Museum is delighted to host James Lavadour: Horse Stories, one of the region’s most celebrated and respected artists. James Lavadour was born in Pendleton, OR in 1951. Today, he lives and works on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, where he is artistic advisor to the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts. Lavadour has been described as a self taught painter, but the works featured in this exhibition speak more than ever to a mature, savvy, driven and hard working contemporary artist. The paintings featured are Lavadour’s first Montana exhibition.

The exhibition includes three large works, all oil on panels including, Deep Moon, from 2005 (on loan from Jordan D. Schnitzer), Hollow, from 2007, and finally the most recent work Straight Ahead from 2010. By featuring these three works viewers will experience both a progression and a consistency, and a collected assembly of works and actions. By placing one panel next to another, the artist composes a complex experience with intense earthy colors and sensitivity to the organic properties of paint itself. Standing close one is exposed to the physicality and actions of the artist at work, stepping back, you realize that the panels allow the elements to work together in a more complex experience.

Lavadour’s father Joseph came from a Native family with many branches including French Canadian, Chinook, Walla Walla, and Assiniboine Sioux – and his mother Colleen, is of German-Irish descent. However, Lavadour is quick to point out that he is not a traditionalist, nor working out of a specific cultural tradition, nor does his work specifically reference his Native American heritage. His work is most directly about painting, his desire to paint and the process driven imagery that evolves through the action of painting.