Ellen Lesperance: Amazonknights
Ellen Lesperance’s exhibition “Amazonknights” presents a selection of new and existing paintings and two new sculptures that pay homage to feminist activism. Inspired by actions of protest that have shaped the twentieth century, the artist plumbs historical footage and photographs, sourcing images of protesters’ hand-knitted garments and translating them into paintings and sculptures. Citing inspiration from Bauhaus-era female weavers, the Pattern and Decoration movement, and feminist art of the 1970s and 1980s centered around the female body, Lesperance reframes image-making outside of male-dominated Western painting traditions while honoring the creative labor of women standing up against social and political ills and environmental destruction.
Lesperance’s works in the exhibition are inspired by knitwear made and worn by women at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. A sustained nonviolent protest lasting from 1981 to 2000, this transformative action against nuclear armament brought together over 30,000 women outside the US Air Force’s nuclear weapons storage at Greenham Common in Berkshire, England. Protestors employed numerous nonviolent direct action tactics, including the knitting and wearing of garments that incorporate powerful symbols of liberation. These new works are an extension of Lesperance’s 2017 work, Amazonknights. Womonspirit. Womonpower. Glory., held in ICA Miami’s permanent collection.
Ellen Lesperance (b. 1971, Minneapolis) has had solo exhibitions at major institutions, including the Baltimore Museum of Art (2020); Portland Art Museum, Oregon (2017); and Seattle Art Museum (2010). Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2020); São Paulo Museum of Art (2019); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2019); Brooklyn Museum (2018); and the New Museum, New York (2017), among others. Lesperance lives and works in Portland, Oregon.
“Ellen Lesperance: Amazonknights” is the second project in ICA Miami’s initiative to invite artists to engage in dialogue with Robert Gober’s Untitled (1994–95), on long-term view on the museum’s ground floor. Dedicated to the exchange of art and ideas, these exhibitions promote dynamic and complex discussions among artistic practices.
“Ellen Lesperance: Amazonknights” is organized by ICA Miami and curated by Stephanie Seidel, Curator.