James Lavadour (1951-) is an Oregonian painter and printmaker. A member of the Walla Walla tribe, he is known for creating large panel sets of landscape paintings. Lavadour is the co-founder of the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, a non-profit arts organization that brings “technology, instruction and cultural exchange” to artists on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
Discovering his love for painting as a child, Lavadour never completed high school, however he was encouraged by his family to explore his artistic endeavors. As a child he was inspired by the peeling and water-stained ceiling of his grandmother’s house, with its drips and exposed layers, a visual experience he called his “Sistine Chapel” that would influence his work for the rest of his life.
“I believe that a painting must stand up on its own without explanation. I think of myself as an abstract action painter. I just happen to see landscape in the abstract events of paint.”
Lavadour’s work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum, Heard Museum (Phoenix) the Denver Art Museum and The National Museum of the American Indian (Washington D.C.) He has had solo shows at The Portland Art Museum, The Hallie Ford Museum (Salem), The Maryhill Museum (Klickitat) and Boise Art Museum. His work was included in a collateral exhibition for the 2013 Venice Biennale. Lavadour is represented locally by PDX Contemporary Art.