Ashley Garrett interviews painter Lori Ellison whose work is on view at McKenzie Fine Art, New York, through February 15, 2014.
Asked about scale in her work, Ellison quotes from an essay she wrote on "humility and making small work." She notes: "If one is lucky, Small Art goes directly to the heart. For this it must be humble and on a suitably modest scale – in this way some work can be crowned Great. (Golda Meir once said 'don’t be humble, you aren’t that great.') To work with humility, one must acquire some of the practical virtues artists need: diligence, temperance, modesty, bravery, ardor, devotion and economy. To work with humility it is better to strive for the communal if not the downright tribal; for wisdom in choices rather than cleverness; good humor in practice; and practice as daily habit. Phillip Guston famously said he went to work in his studio every single day because what if he didn’t and 'that day the angel came'? Henry James once said, 'We work in the dark, we give what we have, our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task.' Doubt is humility after a long, long apprenticeship."