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Extraordinary artists share their “Contemporary Visions”

Shea Stanfield~ 2/4/2015

SCOTTSDALE – Comedian Steve Martin once commented, “Contemporary art is a mystery to me, but I give it credit for its ability to challenge our awareness of the world.”  Mr. Martin is both perceptive and wise in this statement. The show “Contemporary Visions,” presented by the Holland Community Center Art Gallery in North Scottsdale, is guaranteed to challenge our awareness on many levels.

Local artists Bela Fidel, Betsy Halford, Micky Jansen, and Nancy Christy-Moore come together with an exuberant body of work dancing with color and light. The images are high energy in vibrant colors, with some figuratively jumping off the canvas right onto your lap. The fun and whimsical handling of materials enhance the archetypal and introspective quality of the “Contemporary Visions” in modern handling of subject matter.

Bela Fidel grew up in Brazil, where she studied oil painting with the country’s most talented instructors. Her early mentors were Rousseau, Dali, and O’Keefe. Upon moving to the U.S., she continued to develop her technique in painting with courses taken at art schools in both Los Angeles and Scottsdale. Seventeen years ago, Bela added Encaustic painting to her artistic arsenal and has developed an extensive body of work in this fascinating medium. Bela’s oils and encaustic work reflect her appreciation of the richness and simplicity of the Zen philosophy. Bela describes art as the “the equivalent of freeing my imagination from its formal bonds to pursue errands of truth.”  Today, she works and teaches at her studio in North Scottsdale.

Betsy Halford grew up in South Carolina, where the heritage of the South, family history, and old photos and antiques, in all forms, intrigued and influenced her work.  She moved to Arizona from Atlanta, GA two years ago, bringing with her a home studio, vast experience in gallery representation, and her endless parade of inspirational images yet to be put on canvas. The viewer will find her work intriguing in the multi layers of images “that may not intuitively appear to go together but ultimately have a relationship to one another,” as explained by Betsy, about her work. Her images are truly an exploration in alternative understandings of associations.

Micky Jansen grew up in Holland. Strongly influenced by paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Franz Marc, she knew her life would be expressed in color, line, and form. Early on, Micky was accepted into the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and has continued to study with various artists in Europe and the U.S. Micky works from her home studio in Rio Verde, describing her art as her poetry. She is closely connected to the natural world through her ranch and the various domestic and wild animals that occupy the environment with her; life on the open range is her inspiration.

Nancy Christy-Moore grew up in Iowa and Indiana, loving art from the start. Nancy majored in art in college at Columbia College in Columbia, MO and continued her art training at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and Art Center School in Los Angeles in the commercial art program. Today, Nancy works and teaches from her home studio in Surprise, AZ. Her high energy vividly rendered “mixed water media” canvases thunder through space and time. Nancy’s work sparks the exploration of the “inspired art for the spirit within you,” a challenge to our “inner-self.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the collective consciousness of Contemporary Visions at the Holland Community Center, 34250 N. 60th Street in Scottsdale, AZ.  The exhibit will be on view from Feb. 2 through Feb. 26.  Attend the opening reception on Saturday, Feb. 14 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. for an opportunity to enjoy meeting the four artists and talking with them about their work.

Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield at