Standing Among Ghosts, 2001 - Assemblage of paintings (oil on board) with an overall dimension of 8 feet 8 inch by 14 feet
James Lavadour's invented landscapes pay homage to the deserts and mountains of his homeland in northeastern Oregon. The paintings depict the drama and mystery of the Columbia Plateau with its vast horizons, drifting smoke and fog, basalt layer canyons and undulating plains. From a distance, each of the small panels that make up the larger work looks almost photographic. Upon closer inspection, one realizes that these are action paintings - the record of a vigorous physical activity.
The title, Standing Among Ghosts, is a reference to a speech attributed to Chief Seattle in the 1855 Port Elliot Treaty, “…when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone…At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the ghosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land.”