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Santa Monica Artist Takes a New Look at Life

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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors BureauWhen one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.

By Ivette Lopez

June 12, 2014 – Four years after losing half the movement in her head, prominent Santa Monica artist Bruria Finkel has found inspiration in everyday life.

Visitors to the Arena 1 Gallery at Santa Monica Airport – where Finkel’s first exhibit since her car accident opens Saturday-- will see photos of the bark on trees and the decaying process of a pear over the course of three months.

With her limited mobility, Finkel, whose work has drawn on large religious themes, has turned for her subject matter to what is often neglected.

“It’s a way to share the healing portion, and those are important feelings to convey,” Finkel told the Lookout.

With her neck cracked, doctors were forced to drill a medical device known as a “halo” into Finkel’s skull. After five weeks, she was given a neck brace. Instead of secluding herself, Finkel fought her newfound immobility through very mobile allies, her iPhone and iPad.

The exhibit is divided into four sections titled “shadows,” “medit,” “tear time” and “skins.”

“I work in series so I can allow the details of an idea or experience to germinate and find total expression,” Finkel wrote on her website.

A trademark image will likely be Finkel’s hat, which is seen in more than one photograph in her series. In one particularly striking image, its shadow is elongated, resembling a lamppost as much as a religious headdress, the mood somber.

Bruria Finkel
Bruria Finkel, Long Shadow with Grasses, 2014, IPhone digital photography, 72" x 24”. Courtesy of the Arena 1 Gallery

“My hat became my crown and I anointed it a symbol pointing toward recovery and health,” says Finkel on the Arena 1 gallery website.

Over the years, Finkel’s work has been integrated into buildings across Santa Monica -- in the Verona Building entrance and lobby, the Natural Elements sculpture park, the donor’s wall at Upward Bound and at Olympic High School.

She also has been the curator of local exhibits that include “Breaking in Two, women artists who are mothers” (2012), “Emphasis Santa Monica” (2008) and “Southern California Women Artists – Then and Now” (2007).

Her work is been exhibited worldwide from Austria and Germany to Malaysia and the Philippines.

The exhibit opens this Saturday, June 14 at the Arena 1 Gallery, 3026 Airport Avenue, and runs through July 26, 2014.

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