Who Gives A Dot! is the title of Liz Arnold’s latest collection of work.
The 25 “whimsical” pieces were created using mixed-media techniques; the majority include a repeated pattern that plays to the name of her solo exhibit at the Bermuda Society of Arts.
“They kind of tie in together,” she said. “I wouldn’t say the [dots are the] bones of it but more of a kind of freedom of expression.”
The display is her first since Faces, Ms Arnold’s 2019 BSoA exhibit that featured Mary Wells, Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse, Cleopatra, Wonder Woman and other notable females she created using “an inventive combination of media including paper, metal, acrylics, oils, metal, gold and silver leaf on wood cradle boards”.
As described on the BSoA website, there are “mixed media techniques” on display in Who Gives A Dot!, which “lends itself to the art of restoration” and gives “a sense of the old world combined with influences from modern art masters”.
Ms Arnold described the work in the two exhibits as “similar …. but very different as well”.
Who Gives A Dot! took about a year to create. As with everything, progress was hampered by Covid-19. During Bermudas first lockdown, in April of 2020, she had a lot more time to paint but with two sons at home all day she got stuck in a cycle where she would “eat, sleep, paint, clean and cater”.
“I believe it allowed me just that down time and being more introspective of myself and the work that I was creating and thinking about really why I was creating it or why I would choose this way of expression,” she said of the coronavirus pandemic. “We have this kind of intuitive way to express but it allowed me to dig deeper and figure out those reasons.”
BSoA director Nzingha Ming paired the exhibit with solo shows by five other women: Amanda Temple, Michaela Antoinette, Carmen Domarco, Louisa Birmingham and Jane Marsh.
“Nzingha likes to describe it as [six] solo exhibits in one,” said Ms Arnold, whose work occupies Studio A and Studio B of the gallery at City Hall. “I do have my own space and then you walk out and you view everyone else’s work.
“Nzingha put us all together [believing] it would all flow and work – and it did. She did a really great job of curating the work and making sure that it just all flowed. It’s a really beautiful body of work.”
As a solo artist, the title Who Gives A Dot! was in keeping with the attitude she now has towards exhibiting her work.
“I feel that when I do show I tend to create that kind of cohesive body of work that speaks as a group and I think it helps me a lot. I’ve shown before when I was younger, in my early 20s, this is probably the third time I’ve showed later in life and I do find that it does help push me.
“You know you worry so much when you’re creating, sometimes it creeps in: what will people think? How will it be taken? And there comes a point when you say who gives a dot? You’re allowing yourself freedom of expression and allowing others the freedom of expression, although obviously not in a reckless way.”
The show includes cartoon characters that “are very nostalgic to [her] childhood: Betty Boop is adorned in a polka dot dress; Olive Oyl wears Lily Pulitzer and then there’s the bride of Frankenstein.
“I do like the macabre, so I interjected her,” Ms Arnold said. “It’s just throughout 25 pieces that are showing, you can find subtle dots within them.”
The show has been “really well received”.
“I think the subject matter and the expressions within the portraits, it just allows you to kind of imagine what they might be thinking; about the feeling that it’s giving you. I did get quite a bit of feedback from people who said they did get a sense of fun out of it but there are some more serious paintings – you see a range of fun, play seriousness and the nostalgia.
“I think that my pieces, each of them give a story through expression. That’s kind of how I feel about it as I stand in the room and look at the whole body of work together.”
Who Gives A Dot! is on exhibit until December 15 in Studio A and Studio B at the Bermuda Society of Arts. For more information: bsoa.bm; www.mixedmedializ.com. Follow Liz Arnold on Instagram @mixedmedializ, and on Facebook, Liz Andrade Arnold