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Elise Dodeles
Lambertville, NJ

Artwork Details
San Francisco area Fighter A4
Oil on linen
30" x 40"

Elise Dodeles has been drawing, painting, and exhibiting her artwork for approximately 30 years. In addition to having her work reproduced in journals and an international survey of women artists, Dodeles has shown her art in New York, Canada, and overseas. Some of her exhibitions have included a solo show as part of the New Jersey Artist series at Johnson & Johnson World Headquarters and being included in the Aljira National Five. Her paintings of Negro League baseball players have been shown at the Jerry Malloy Negro League Research Conference in Chicago, at Kutztown University's Rohrbach Library, and the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania. In 2011, she was selected for a solo exhibition at the William Way Community Center in Philadelphia, and in 2012, she had her portraits of boxers shown at The Quiet Life Gallery in Lambertville. Raised in Oceanside, New York, she did her undergraduate work at Carnegie-Mellon and New York Universities, and obtained her Masters in Fine Art from the New York Academy of Art. In addition to making her art, in 2007 she obtained a Masters in Library and Information Science. Her interest in special collections librarianship has influenced her artwork, as she often utilizes black and white photographs found in archives as subject matter for her paintings. She is included in the 20th edition of Who's Who of American Women, and her artwork can be found in personal and institutional collections, including the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Florida.

Elise says, "I began the series of fighters' portraits wanting strong imagery without forcing content. My previous work utilized images found in libraries and archives, relating these to my personal history through juxtaposition. However, I no longer wanted to force content through the combining of images. I wanted to push myself to let the paint application provide more of the content. The boxers' portraits continued my research in libraries, as I found them in a special collections department in an album of black and white photographs of mostly anonymous San Francisco area fighters, circa 1917-1930. With these photos, I found the perfect vehicle for expression: the boxers' struggles are etched upon their faces. Their lived lives provide powerful content.

"Utilizing these images, I allowed the paint to tell me what to do. I freed myself to use startling color combinations, expressive brushwork, and built-up, textured, paint surfaces. All of this is to allow the formal qualities of my painting to make tangible what Joyce Carol Oates's described when writing of boxing:
At its moments of greatest intensity it seems to contain so complete and so powerful an image of life-life's beauty, vulnerability, despair, incalculable and often self-destructive courage-that boxing is life, and hardly a mere game.*"

*Oates, Joyce Carol, On Boxing. Garden City, NY: DolphinDoubleday, 1987.

Elise is showing at the Therese A. Maloney Art Gallery on the Campus of the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ, in the group show entitled "Persona," which is on display until April 14, 2013.