Skip to Content

Alison Bechdel

3 Favorites 1 Copy (view)
Arts +2 Age Level Middle School (13 to 15 years old)
Lehrer's multi-media portrait of acclaimed cartoonist and graphic novelist , Alison Bechdel, is an engaging image. I envision that it could help facilitate a lively discussion and inspire an exploration of self-identity with students at the secondary level in the visual as well as the language arts.

Riva Lehrer's interest in figuration and portraiture stems from living with a visible and significant disability. "Being stared at, and looking back, has colored my work for twenty years. Most of my collaborators have been people with impairments, visible or not. Some have no impairments but qualify for other reasons. We start with long interviews, in order to get a strong narrative sense of the relationship between their body and their life." Lehrer started this portrait of graphic novelist Alison Bechdel while Bechdel was working on Are You My Mother, a follow-up to her memoir, Fun Home. Bechdel provided a full-scale drawing of her mother, which Lehrer then transferred onto paper with blue acrylic. Lehrer says the portrait "grew out of discussions about being haunted by a lost parent, and [the awareness] that one's mother is the ultimate mirror of the self for a daughter."

Alison Bechdel (the sitter)
Riva Lehrer (the artist)
Chicago, IL
2011
Charcoal, mixed media, and 3-D collage on paper
Sandy Hindin Stone