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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Much More Here Than Meets the Eye


"The elegance of simplicity, the richness of experience, depth of feelings, and the allure of uncompromising aesthetics" is the framework in which artist Bela Fidel develops her oils, encaustics, and mixed-media work. Her abstract work in oils, notably her Zen Series, expresses a rich layering and simple shapes that create a pleasing yet startling artistic environment, "Much like a couple who has been together for a long time, their connection, though unspoken, is real and palpable."

Growing up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she was born, the world of literature and music inspired Fidel's early influences; she majored in Spanish and English Literature and pursued a partial M.A. in Romance Languages. At the age of 14, she also fell in love with Classical music. These influences played a significant role in developing her art which began in the early 1970s. Bela recalls, "at one point in the early 70s, while living in Israel, out of nowhere, I decided to learn how to paint." Bela became fascinated with the work of the Surreal and Abstract canvases of contemporary masters such as Dali and O'Keefe.

Early on Bela, she honed her painting skills in oils with academic subjects such as still-life, landscapes, and portraits. She developed the early foundations of her art with several well-known Brazilian instructors. Her artistic development led her to strong influences from a provocative group of modern artists from the New York School, such as Motherwell, Diebenkorn, Hoffman, and Rivers. Bela continually pushed the boundaries of her work through an endless and earnest search for her most authentic expression. Each painting leads to discoveries, struggles with self-doubts, and teaches her about herself. It is in this process Bela pursues errands of truth.

Before becoming a full-time artist, Bela made her living as an executive secretary and mid-level manager and a written and simultaneous translator in Portuguese, Spanish, English, and Hebrew. She did not expect her painting to support her. After moving to the United States, Bela studied make-up artistry in Los Angeles, where she worked as a make-up artist for student film projects at the Los Angeles Film Institute. Her work also included creating glamour make-up for promotional shots. By the late 1980s, Bela had met and married her husband. During 1992-93 Bela's husband spent extended time in Scottsdale, Arizona, working with a client. Bella decided to go along; the couple fell in love with Arizona, relocating to Scottsdale within a few months. Today, well-established Bela works and teaches from her studio in Scottsdale. She continually expands her artistic expression through her work by adding various new techniques, a variety of materials, and aesthetic elements to her canvases. She describes her current work as Abstract Expressionism.

"Each painting takes me to roads traveled and unknown, offering opportunities for growth and humility. My next goal is to create a series of paintings based on Rachmaninoff's Concerto #1."

Recently, Bela has been focused on opening her work to deeper and more expansive ideas of our times. She reflects, "Each painting takes me to roads traveled and unknown, offering opportunities for growth and humility. My next goal is to create a series of paintings based on Rachmaninoff's Concerto #1." Bela exhibits include the Flinn Foundation, Shemer Art Center and Museum in Phoenix, and the Desert Foothills Library in Cave Creek. She also teaches classes at the Shemer Art Center and will soon teach at the Walter Art Gallery in Scottsdale. She is a member of the Sonoran Arts League, Arizona Art Alliance, The Arizona Artist Guild, and Artlink. Artist Bela Fidel enjoys a loyal following of collectors and those seeking commission work. One of artist Bela Fidel's favorite quotes is by actor Alan Alda, "Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has been. You must leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can only get there by working hard, risking, and not knowing what you're doing. What you discover will be wonderful, yourself."


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