Social Fabric

Social Fabric, Installation View
Evelyn Roth, Video Amazon, 1971
Evelyn Roth, Video Amazon, (detail) 1971
Ellen Lesperance, Sister, You Don’t Look Like a Revolution, 2023
Ellen Lesperance, Sister, You Don’t Look Like a Revolution, (detail) 2023
Evelyn Roth, Woven in Time, 1974
Ellen Lesperance, The Second Path of Feminye, 2020
Evelyn Roth, Fiesta, ca.1970
Evelyn Roth, Fiesta, (detail) ca.1970
Ellen Lesperance, This Woman Says No to Corrie Anti-abortion Bill, 2020
Ellen Lesperance, preparatory colour studies and images from the artist’s personal archive of Greenham Common protesters
Evelyn Roth, ephemera relating to The Evelyn Roth Moving Sculpture Company (1974-1980s), Nylon Zoo (1976-) and Living Arts Festival, Vancouver (1979)

Social Fabric
Ellen Lesperance and Evelyn Roth
10th March-14th April 2024

If Earth had been hit by plague, by fire, by war, by radiation, sterility, a thousand things, you name it, I’d still stand by her; I love her; I would fight every inch of the way there because my whole life is knit to her. And she’d need mourners. To die on a dying Earth. I’d live, if only to weep.
– Joanna Russ, ‘We Who are About To…’  (1976)

Ivory Tars is pleased to present Social Fabric, a two-person exhibition bringing together artworks by Ellen Lesperance and Evelyn Roth, exploring the intertwined themes of community and anarchic self-expression in textiles-based practice.

Ellen Lesperance (b. 1971, Minneapolis, lives and works in Portland, USA) employs the visual language of knitting patterns in order to pay homage to female activism. Inspired by acts of defiance that have shaped the twentieth century, the artist sources archival images of protesters’ hand-knitted garments, which she first translates into American Symbolcraft, before turning them into meticulous gouache paintings on paper. Citing inspiration from Bauhaus-era weavers, the Pattern and Decoration movement, and feminist body art of the 1970s and 1980s, Lesperance reframes image-making outside of male-dominated Western painting traditions. Her works honour the creative labour of women standing up against social and political ills and environmental destruction. A recurring subject of her research is the Greenham Common Peace camp, established in Berkshire in 1982 to protest against nuclear armament.

Evelyn Roth (b.1936 Mundare, Canada, lives and works in Maslin Beach, Australia) is a countercultural pioneer whose environmentally sensitive practice has taken many forms. She was closely involved during the 1960s with Intermedia, an artists’ collective based in British Columbia, creating video art, performances, wearable sculptures and immersive installations. From 1973 through to the 1980s The Evelyn Roth Moving Sculpture Company, a group formed to showcase her creations, performed at a great number of international festivals and other events. In 1975 Roth published The Evelyn Roth Recycling Book, a survey of her work to date and a watershed manifesto for ecological consciousness in the arts. She has worked with local communities consistently throughout her career. Nylon Zoo, an expansive multimedia project aimed primarily at younger audiences and commenced in 1976, remains active to this day. 

Photography: Patrick Jameson