Alone in my Oregon studio, the world rushes in and I have a compelling need to give form to the local and global events reshaping our lives. Betty LaDuke


Fire, Fury, and Resilience: Totem Witnesses and Turtle Wisdom presents an opportunity to experience Betty LaDuke’s most recent work and to travel with her through the social concerns and political issues that have dominated the news cycles and engaged her as an artist-activist over the past decade. I have been an observer of and advocate for her work for close to sixty years; for me, this exhibition represents a moment in which both the formal innovation in her work and the power of her worldview as an artist have come full circle. In these shaped and carved totemic paintings, all on a common plywood ground, I recognize a bringing together of key aspects of the artist’s radically experimental intaglio printmaking of the 1960s with the stylistic elements of her later paintings that evolved out of imagery in her travel sketchbooks. Together these give aesthetic form to the artist’s deep concern for the present state of humanity.

“[These] totem works communicate resonant emotional experiences through a powerful use of color; a vigorous painted line outlining strong patterns; and the directional texture of router-carved, paint-filled surfaces that, rather than traditional perspective, create and organize shallow abstract spaces that are filled with fragmentary figures and mask-like faces embodying the sociopolitical intention of the totem.

“An artist of great skill and immense empathy, LaDuke has used the indefatigable power of her optimism to do battle with inhumanity, its violence and anger, its horror and injustice. We celebrate Betty LaDuke’s totems as resilient symbols of human joy and sorrow —affirmations of humility and strength — as they give form to the dignity, struggles, and aspirations of the people.”

 – Bruce Guenther, Fine Arts Consultant, Independent Curator

“This show is a miracle, a small act of radical wisdom, funny and brave and tender, a sensory meditation on what we have lived through and what we have learned.”

 – Beth Russell, Managing Editor CALYX, a journal of art & literature by women



“LaDuke’s work speaks to unimaginable hardships and difficult choices. It also speaks to joy, finding commonality across cultures, and the importance of community and love. This exhibition invites you to explore these themes on your own terms, and to draw your own connections.”- Jessica Hougen, Executive Director, Corvallis Museum




“Turtles symbolically evolved as a personal necessity to affirm life’s continuity. Turtles remind us of the choices we can make to protect life and to honor Mother Earth.” Betty LaDuke, 2022

“I consider my current panels a combination of media inspired by decades of work as a painter painting large canvases on cultural themes and as a printmaker. I created many woodblock prints, as well as etchings, by cutting and shaping zinc plates. Shaped forms have always been my preference, and they are now combining my experiences of both a painter and printmaker.” – Betty LaDuke, 2022



For Exhibit Information Contact:

Betty LaDuke

(541) 482-4562

Current Exhibit Schedule

Grants Pass Museum of Art — 2022
Corvallis Museum, Corvallis, OR — 2022-2023
Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, OR — 2023
Bergen Community College, Paramus, NJ — 2024
Rancho Cordova Art Center, Rancho Cordova, CA — 2024

Download Exhibition Catalogue