Ellen Lesperance: Velvet Fist

From January 26, 2020 — September 20, 2020

5df277ea327fd Ellen Lesperance: Velvet Fist ellen-lesperance-velvet-fist /images/exhibitions/large/ellenlesperance_velvet_fist.jpg /images/exhibitions/large/ellenlesperance_velvet_fist.jpg Image: Ellen Lesperance. Velvet Fist. 2014-15. Courtesy of Adams and Ollman, Portland and Derek Eller Gallery, New York 1 2020-01-26T00:00:00-05:00 2020-09-20T00:00:00-05:00

Based on the attire of women activists, warriors, and cultural figures, Ellen Lesperance creates gouache paintings rendered in the universal shorthand of knitting patterns. This exhibition features seven works from her ongoing Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp series. The works in the series are inspired by protest garments made and worn by separatist feminists while demonstrating against U.S. nuclear weapons storage in Berkshire, England, from 1981 to 2000. Before COVID-19, Lesperance’s ongoing project, Congratulations and Celebrations, was open to participants who wished to borrow the artist’s hand-knit sweater featuring a labrys battle axe—a symbol of feminist and lesbian strength—to wear while performing an act of courage. Given the ongoing pandemic, the project cannot be activated again by the BMA. The courage sweater has now returned to the artist in Portland. Lesperance will continue the project at IG@congratulationsandcelebrations when public health conditions allow.

On the occasion of the exhibition, Lesperance published a 100-page catalog, featuring an insightful essay by the artist, over 80 examples of protest knitwear by Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, and an illustrated glossary of symbols. Ellen Lesperance Velvet Fist is available to purchase at the BMA Shop and https://shop.artbma.org. Read an excerpt here.

Curated by Associate Curator of Contemporary Art Cecilia Wichmann

This exhibition is supported by the Estate of Margaret Hammond Cooke.

Based on the attire of women activists, warriors, and cultural figures, Ellen Lesperance creates gouache paintings rendered in the universal shorthand of knitting patterns. This exhibition features seven works from her ongoing Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp series. The works in the series are inspired by protest garments made and worn by separatist feminists while demonstrating against U.S. nuclear weapons storage in Berkshire, England, from 1981 to 2000. Before COVID-19, Lesperance’s ongoing project, Congratulations and Celebrations, was open to participants who wished to borrow the artist’s hand-knit sweater featuring a labrys battle axe—a symbol of feminist and lesbian strength—to wear while performing an act of courage. Given the ongoing pandemic, the project cannot be activated again by the BMA. The courage sweater has now returned to the artist in Portland. Lesperance will continue the project at IG@congratulationsandcelebrations when public health conditions allow.

On the occasion of the exhibition, Lesperance published a 100-page catalog, featuring an insightful essay by the artist, over 80 examples of protest knitwear by Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, and an illustrated glossary of symbols. Ellen Lesperance Velvet Fist is available to purchase at the BMA Shop and https://shop.artbma.org. Read an excerpt here.

Curated by Associate Curator of Contemporary Art Cecilia Wichmann

This exhibition is supported by the Estate of Margaret Hammond Cooke.

Image: Ellen Lesperance. Velvet Fist. 2014-15. Courtesy of Adams and Ollman, Portland and Derek Eller Gallery, New York