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Ellen Lesperance
updated: 04/18/2013
website: www.ellenlesperance.com
 
   
 
 
     
 
Artwork Title
art-medium
art-year
dimensions
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Beside the Land of Chaldea is the Land of Amazonia, That is the Land of Feminye...
One of the Earliest-Dated Warrior Priestesses at Pokrovka Was Interred with a Mirror and a Seashell...
Somewhere Along the Black Sea in the Distant North-East, or in Libya in the Furthest South, the Amazons - The Women and Girl Children - Exist Just Outside of the Range of Normal Human Experience
The Women of the Heresies Collective Meet on a Saturday Morning in 1977 Manhattan to Redress History
Cardigan Worn by One  Woman of the Boeing Five,  Tried for Entering the  Boeing Nuclear Missile  Plant... Sentenced to Fifteen  Days in the King County  Jail For Defending Life  on Earth.
Dear Pippa Bacca, Let the Wearing of This Sweater Act as an Oath: That a Path of Peace Between Milan and Jerusalem be Traveled in Your Honor
Installation, The Strong, Star-Bright Companions, solo show, Ambach & Rice Gallery, Seattle, WA
Installation (patterns, sweaters, and source imagery), People's Biennial, Time-Based Art Festival 2010, Portland, OR
She Stormed the Compound Singing: Old and Strong, She Goes On and On, On and On. You Can't Kill the Spirit. She is Like a Mountain.
Sitting and Lying in the Road in Front of the Convoy, They Formed a Blockade That Was 2,000 Women Thick
Slide Series I: Sweaters of Greenham Common
A 10 year-old Rachel Corrie Pleas to the Gathered Crowd: We've Got to Remember That They Are Us. We Are Them.
For You,  Helen Thomas, We Will  Recite a Dirge and  Remember Greenham  Common: But They Are  Gone - The Holy Ones,  Who Trod With Me This  Lonely Vale, The Strong,  Star-Bright Companions
Detail: For You, Helen Thomas, We Will Recite...
Variegated Sweater Worn by Ina May Gaskin as Practiced Spiritual Midwifery on The Farm, Summertown, Tennessee: I Felt Telepathic with All Mothers Before Me and Knew That We Were One Thing...
 
Portfolio Keywords:  pattern, craft, figurative, political, text
 
 
Beside the Land of Chaldea is the Land of Amazonia, That is the Land of Feminye... by Ellen Lesperance
Beside the Land of Chaldea is the Land of Amazonia, That is the Land of Feminye...
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper
2013
40 22 " x  29.5 29 " 
One of the Earliest-Dated Warrior Priestesses at Pokrovka Was Interred with a Mirror and a Seashell... by Ellen Lesperance
One of the Earliest-Dated Warrior Priestesses at Pokrovka Was Interred with a Mirror and a Seashell...
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper, artist-knit sweater
2013
21 " x  29 " 
Somewhere Along the Black Sea in the Distant North-East, or in Libya in the Furthest South, the Amazons - The Women and Girl Children - Exist Just Outside of the Range of Normal Human Experience by Ellen Lesperance
Somewhere Along the Black Sea in the Distant North-East, or in Libya in the Furthest South, the Amazons - The Women and Girl Children - Exist Just Outside of the Range of Normal Human Experience
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper, artist-knit sweater
2013
22 " x  29.5 " 
The Women of the Heresies Collective Meet on a Saturday Morning in 1977 Manhattan to Redress History by Ellen Lesperance
The Women of the Heresies Collective Meet on a Saturday Morning in 1977 Manhattan to Redress History
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper
2011
22" x  29.5" 
Cardigan Worn by One  Woman of the Boeing Five,  Tried for Entering the  Boeing Nuclear Missile  Plant... Sentenced to Fifteen  Days in the King County  Jail For Defending Life  on Earth. by Ellen Lesperance
Cardigan Worn by One Woman of the Boeing Five, Tried for Entering the Boeing Nuclear Missile Plant... Sentenced to Fifteen Days in the King County Jail For Defending Life on Earth.
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper
2011
22 " x  29.5 " 
Dear Pippa Bacca, Let the Wearing of This Sweater Act as an Oath: That a Path of Peace Between Milan and Jerusalem be Traveled in Your Honor by Ellen Lesperance
Dear Pippa Bacca, Let the Wearing of This Sweater Act as an Oath: That a Path of Peace Between Milan and Jerusalem be Traveled in Your Honor
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper
2011
22 " x  29 " 
Installation, The Strong, Star-Bright Companions, solo show, Ambach & Rice Gallery, Seattle, WA by Ellen Lesperance
Installation, The Strong, Star-Bright Companions, solo show, Ambach & Rice Gallery, Seattle, WA
wool, cedar table, framed drawing
2011
Dimensions variable
Installation (patterns, sweaters, and source imagery), People's Biennial, Time-Based Art Festival 2010, Portland, OR by Ellen Lesperance
Installation (patterns, sweaters, and source imagery), People's Biennial, Time-Based Art Festival 2010, Portland, OR
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper, wool, photographs
2010
Dimensions variable
She Stormed the Compound Singing: Old and Strong, She Goes On and On, On and On. You Can't Kill the Spirit. She is Like a Mountain. by Ellen Lesperance
She Stormed the Compound Singing: Old and Strong, She Goes On and On, On and On. You Can't Kill the Spirit. She is Like a Mountain.
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper
2010
22 " x  29 " 
Sitting and Lying in the Road in Front of the Convoy, They Formed a Blockade That Was 2,000 Women Thick by Ellen Lesperance
Sitting and Lying in the Road in Front of the Convoy, They Formed a Blockade That Was 2,000 Women Thick
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper
2010
22 " x  29 " 
Slide Series I: Sweaters of Greenham Common  by Ellen Lesperance
Slide Series I: Sweaters of Greenham Common
edition of 12 35mm slides (edition of 10)
2011
Dimensions variable
A 10 year-old Rachel Corrie Pleas to the Gathered Crowd: We've Got to Remember That They Are Us. We Are Them. by Ellen Lesperance
A 10 year-old Rachel Corrie Pleas to the Gathered Crowd: We've Got to Remember That They Are Us. We Are Them.
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper, artist-knit sweater
2013
Dimensions variable
For You,  Helen Thomas, We Will  Recite a Dirge and  Remember Greenham  Common: But They Are  Gone - The Holy Ones,  Who Trod With Me This  Lonely Vale, The Strong,  Star-Bright Companions by Ellen Lesperance
For You, Helen Thomas, We Will Recite a Dirge and Remember Greenham Common: But They Are Gone - The Holy Ones, Who Trod With Me This Lonely Vale, The Strong, Star-Bright Companions
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper
2011
21 " x  29 " 
Detail: For You, Helen Thomas, We Will Recite... by Ellen Lesperance
Detail: For You, Helen Thomas, We Will Recite...
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper
2011
22" x  29" 
Variegated Sweater Worn by Ina May Gaskin as Practiced Spiritual Midwifery on The Farm, Summertown, Tennessee: I Felt Telepathic with All Mothers Before Me and Knew That We Were One Thing...  by Ellen Lesperance
Variegated Sweater Worn by Ina May Gaskin as Practiced Spiritual Midwifery on The Farm, Summertown, Tennessee: I Felt Telepathic with All Mothers Before Me and Knew That We Were One Thing...
gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper
2010
22 " x  29 " 

Artist Statement

 The artwork that I make initially stems from archival activist footage. In this footage, I seek out women involved in Direct Action campaigns that are wearing sweaters that, in some way, reflect their ideological intentions. I then go about creating a knitting pattern for these found sweaters as carefully as possible: imaging the weight of the yarn, era-specific styling, deciding which colors would best approximate the values in a black and white photo, sometimes imagining a sweater in its entirety when it is only partially seen. My patterns are painted in gouache on paper that I grid to reflect the yarn gauge appropriate to each sweater. These patterns can then be followed to recreate the sweater.

 

 

I make this work in order to memorialize the glory of effective resistance in an effort that these moments do not vanish from popular memory, in an effort that they can reach new audiences to inspire. The 19-year, all-women, anti-nuke Peace Camp at the Greenham Commons US Airbase in Berkshire, England in the 1980s and 1990s is a site of continual research and awe. I like the idea that, for example, through the recreation of a Greenham sweater, a new “wearer” might be beckoned. I also have a particular interest in assigning valor to young women from the Pacific Northwest like Rachel Corrie and Beth “Horehound” O’Brien; women who have sacrificed their lives for causes greater than themselves.

 

Artist Bio / CV

Ellen Lesperance, Portland, OR, is currently working on drawings in which sweaters worn by female activists during direct action campaigns are re-patterned in gouache on paper.  Partially a practice of memorializing, partially a practice of educating, these drawings include death shrouds designed for the fallen.  Lesperance received her MFA in Visual Arts at Rutgers University and has shown her work in venues including: Monya Rowe Gallery, NYC; PS122, NYC; Art in General, NYC; Artists Space, NYC; Samson Projects, Boston; The Portland Art Museum, Portland, ME, and Savage Art Resources, Portland, OR.  Her work has appeared in publications such as Tema Celeste, The New York Times, USArt, Art Monthly and LTTR.  She is a past Skowhegan School of Art and MacDowell Colony resident who teaches at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.