UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ask Bobby #12
September 25, 2023

The Artist’s Work Is Never Done

Boston Construction No. 2, Photography

Boston Construction No. 2, Photography

“Somehow, the idea of commitment, that you ought to bring something to its completion, holds up a teacher’s ruler,” says Liz Doles in her artist’s statement. She is talking about an unavoidable issue common to all artists whether it be the plastic arts or even literature. The simple act of instant creation has a unique and exciting connotation to it. To create something from where nothing previously existed.

Though science possesses a law about the conservation of energy in the universe that states no energy is ever truly created or destroyed, this demonstrates an inherent duality between the fields of the arts and the sciences. This law, though foundational to one, does not quite apply to the other, for art is instead constructed on ideas.

These ideas, and the energy which fuels them, conversely, are constantly being created, built upon, influenced, and modified by those set before them. This creates a somewhat daunting task for the artists to know that instead of merely observing and defining the world which surrounds them, they are, in fact, laying down the brick and mortar of the very ideological universe that they themselves are very much a part of. But, right along with the exhilaration of creation, is the fear of hard and fast commitment; knowing that your work will take its permanent place in the numinous hierarchy of thought manifest. UMass Boston’s very own Harbor Art Gallery kicks off the spring 2005 semester on a whimsical-impetuous high note with the current showing of Liz Doles’ exhibition entitled Incomplete, showing now until February 18. In this exhibition, artist Liz Doles has attempted to detail this delicate balance where an artist’s meaning is realized and executed before it then becomes lost under the weight of pressure to over-articulate.

There is a sense of purity in Doles’ work, as she aims to retain the freshness and excitement of her inspiration. It’s as though the very process of creation itself is where she gets her main satisfaction; the ensuing results are merely a product of this devotion. She mentions a desire to preserve her work’s sense of personal passion in an attempt to maintain its fertile authenticity, as she puts it, “before the piece gets labored over and looks like Art.”

Though this is not meant to imply that there is a disregard for her art as Art. Instead, Liz Doles utilizes a wide variety of established styles and mediums to communicate her equally varied artistic visions. She works with acrylics, charcoal, pastels, inks, stamps, and the various printing techniques of monotype, cyanotype and Van Dyke printing, often several mediums being used in a single work. The immediacy of her work is emphasized by her choosing not to frame or mount any of her pieces, thus the flaws, the rough edges of the paper and newsprint are emphasized.

There is one series that features fluid gestural sketches of human figures done largely in charcoal and pastels. Though they maintain a feeling of subtle simplicity, the sketches are creatively raised above simply being highlights from a figure drawing class, as they are further embellished with cross-cultural references. Asian calligraphy spells out foreign language haikus along with the distinctive mark of red ink stamps that find their way into the work. Suddenly the pieces take on a broader cultural significance.

But these characteristics do not define all or even most of her work, as the artist’s seeming desire to follow the muse leads her to almost limitless verity. She effortlessly moves from more graphic art to illustrative, almost embracing the looseness of inconsistency.

When looking at Liz Doles’ work, her obvious love for the process of artistic creation and the realization of an idea becomes obviously apparent. On the surface the title of her exhibition, Incomplete, may make it seem like she is unfortunately selling herself a little short. But when viewing her intentions as a whole, suddenly the term “incomplete” shows its true relative nature. The artist’s work is never done. Even when a specific piece of work is conceived, composed, and finally completed, the art of creation, for the artists, continues and remains something incomplete. Ideas are created and they are destroyed, as art is a continuous and ongoing process. As Doles notes, “this can be said of one’s own life as well, but at least artists get second chances-we can always do another drawing.”

About the Contributor
Denez McAdoo served as the following positions at The Mass Media for the following years: Arts Editor: Spring 2005; Fall 2005 Editor-in-Chief: Spring 2006; 2006-2007