Wednesday, July 11, 2012

sweaters, drawn.



I am so loving and inspired by the work of Northwest based artist Ellen Lesperance. An image of hers popped off the New American Painting blog and I looked a little further...


to find an incredibly powerful and intense body of work. Ellen recreates sweaters that were seen worn by female activists in archival footage. She selects women wearing sweaters that express an aspect of their personality. She bases the grid of her gouache drawing on the gauge of the yarn used in the sweater.


I always love actual drawings of fabric objects something about taking the texture away from the material really transforms it in a beautiful way.


about the process of her work:

The artwork that I make initially stems from archival activist footage. In this footage, I seek out women involved in direct-action campaigns who 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: imagining the weight of the yarn and 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.


Her gallery in LA describes the work as:

Partially a practice of memorializing, partially a practice of educating, these drawings include death shrouds designed for the fallen.


I am a lover of drawings and love how she takes such an ordinary and personal object and turns it into a systematic and abstract drawing. She combines so many contradictions in the work that it really draws you in. I would love having one of these in my home.


See more of her work here.

2 comments:

slkrueg said...

Enjoying the work of Ellen Lesperance. Such a concept! and the talent to be able to paint, pattern and knit those important sweaters!

Joetta M. said...

right? quite an innovative talent. Love it!!!