Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1971
Lives and works in Portland, Oregon
On the occasion of Converge 45, Ellen Lesperance has published Peace Camps, a novel partially set in the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in Berkshire, England. The exhibition, titled The Subjects, features the book, published by the Portland arts press Container Corps with illustrations by artist Jeffry Mitchell, as well as archival photographs, source materials, and other texts linked to the all-woman, direct-action, anti-nuclear-proliferation occupation established outside the Greenham Common Royal Air Force base from 1982 until 2000.
Lesperance invokes the work of female activists in her art; the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp and the rich archive of images of their campaign have long inspired her. Most notably in gridded paintings, Lesperance recreates the patterns, colors, and gauge of hand knit sweaters worn by the women in the camp. The garments communicated the wearer’s ideological intentions and Lesperance’s paintings serve a dual purpose: to assign valor to the woman who originally wore the sweater and to beckon a new wearer to pick up the fight for causes greater than themselves. The novel Peace Camps deepens her engagement with this historical source in new and provocative ways.
Organized by Portland Art Museum and curated by Sara Krajewski, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.