Portland’s Ellen Lesperance won the Seattle Art Museum’s Betty Bowen Award in September, much to to the befuddlement of many in Seattle, who’d never heard of her. She has an exciting website, especially for feminists who appreciate the wider progressive history of their movement. Her site opens with rousing chants from decades-old street actions, currently, We don’t want Cruise!
Using archival footage, Lesperance photographs sweaters worn by demonstrators and recreates them, first in yarn, second abstracted in gouache on paper. Five of these drawings hang at SAM, and they are inert: Paul Klee in a coma. What is lively in Klee’s line is dead in hers. Just because she has an appealing back story doesn’t mean her drawings are any good at all. Looks as if this year’s Betty Bowen jurors were seduced by intent.
We Will Cover Your Fallen Body, Beth O’Brien, and Tell You That It Was
Not in Vain. The Forest at Eagle Creek Remains! Let It Echo Your Most
Valiant of Names: Horehound…Horehound…. 2010