Crossing Borders: Betty LaDuke
August 28 - December 16, 2017
Ranging from giclee prints to almost life-sized acrylic paintings on cut-out wooden panels, Betty LaDuke's artworks show farm workers in fields, families in refugee camps overseas and people struggling to cope with the aftermath of war or environmental degradation. LaDuke was inspired by her frequent travels to countries such as Eritrea, Syria, Bosnia and Mexico.
LaDuke’s art has been described as reminiscent of American Regionalism with its use of exaggerated forms to portray working class people. LaDuke also incorporates elements of folk art, such as bright colors, stylized motifs and repeated patterns.
LaDuke forms personal relationships with the people she portrays, often gathering their stories as she captures the daily routines of their lives in her sketchbook. The oral histories of Oregon farm workers appear alongside LaDuke’s sketches and finished artwork in her book “Bountiful Harvest,” which is available from the university library.
Several of LaDuke’s other works are in HFMA’s permanent collection, with some pieces on display in the third floor of the University Center. Her personal papers and sketchbooks are housed in the Pacific Northwest Artists Archives, a collaborative project of the Willamette University Archives and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.
“Betty LaDuke has a long history of using the visual arts as a vehicle for social change,” says University Archivist Mary McRobinson. “She immerses herself into cultures, going into villages and fields to give voice to people who are often marginalized. As she says, her images ‘bridge people as well as continents. We are one.’”