Roberta Lavadour
Portland, OR

Top: Relative Memory $450

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About Relative Memory

Relative Memory is a piece in a long series of books and sculptural works that revolve around a tin of photographs of my mother that my dad gave me when I was a kid. I was five months old when she took her life on Oct. 26, 1962, just one day before the world exhaled a collective sigh of relief that nuclear war with the Soviet Union had been averted. My older sisters were instructed not to speak of her again, so I grew up with only the photographs, which I became obsessed with as a teenager. The thin sheets of glass that form this work became a perfect vehicle for exploring the idea of being at once absent and omnipresent.


The image for this variation is one of my favorite shots -showing a carefree smile and a gardening blouse that my oldest sister recognized right away. The book, for all intents and purposes, is blank. Each page is an empty sheet of glass. But the image, embedded in the spine, travels through the depth of each page, appearing on the fore edge, whole when the book is closed, fractured when it is opened. 3.25 x 2.75 x 2.75 inches. Glass pages allow the spine image to travel through each page to be readable only on the fore edge.

Artist Biography

Roberta Lavadour lives and works at the foothills of the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. She made her first book in 1982 and has been exhibiting her artist's books and sculptural pieces since the mid 1990's. Her work is fueled by her rampant curiosity and explores everything from found objects and thrift store finds to personal family history to current events.

She has been recognized with awards at several exhibit venues and received an Oregon Arts Commission/National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship in 2001. Her work resides in many public and private collections around the world. She publishes her artist’s books under the Mission Creek Press imprint.

All images and text copyright the artist. All rights reserved.