Leslie Parke on Lori Ellison

I am drawn to work of modest means that has a monumental impact. The master of this kind of work was Lori Ellison, who died in August 2015

ellison untitle artwork

Lori Ellison, Untitled​ (2014-2015)​. Ink on notebook paper 10 7/8 ​by​ 8 1/4 inches, Courtesy of McKenzie Fine Art, New York

Ellison created her pieces on plain paper or in grade-school notebooks, sometimes leaving evidence of the punch holes on one side. She immediately invited you to compare her work to doodles, and not the doodles of a great artist, but the doodles of a student. The genius in her work occurred on many levels, not the least of which was in not succumbing to any doodling clichés.

leslie park-almond tree-artwork

​Leslie Parke, Almond Tree Evening (2015), oil on canvas. 66 by 96 inches​

Ellison’s rigorous simplicity is what I admire most. I love how her work engages me in the process.  The drawings almost beg you to try to imitate them. And perhaps it is precisely in this process of putting pen to paper that you begin to feel her decision making, her clear and precise choices — how the image sits on the page, how it relates to the edge, how it interacts with the lines on the page.

These drawings have an impact that is emotionally complex and visually exciting.

Leslie Parke lives and works in upstate New York and is the recipient many grants and awards. She has been an artist- in-residence at the Claude Monet Foundation in Giverny, France, and has exhibited work at the Williams College Museum of Art, the Museum of the Southwest, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A memorial show of Lori Ellison’s work will open at McKenzie Fine Art in New York on December 11 and run through January 31, 2016.

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