Essay for 2007 Exhibition Defining the Silence
Melbourne artist Adam Nudelman draws upon a myriad of cultural influences and a devotion to the landscape tradition in the creation of this powerful exhibition of paintings.
Defining the Silence is a landmark exhibition in a career that has so far been defined by extraordinary technical skill and an incisive intellect. Nudelman is undoubtedly a standout of his generation. He uses the language and tradition of landscape painting to layer imagery both viewed and implied, permeating every aspect of the picture plane.
Through the artist’s delicate rendering of light and atmosphere, the viewer is drawn into neo-romantic and at times melancholic landscapes. One has the sense of witnessing, in silence, the dusk light as it settles over distant ranges or unyielding steel. Introducing an element of uncertainty through the placement of abandoned structures, Nudelman makes us aware not just of the land, but also of the implied communities that are its inhabitants.
The discovery of his Polish Jewish heritage in his teens impacts directly upon his work, and is manifest in his ongoing investigation into identity. The duality of melancholy and hope, of beauty and awe are played out in the narrative of his pictorial dramas.
Nudelman has a deep appreciation for the history of landscape painting. His work is informed by European born artists such as Jacob van Ruisdael, Casper David Friedrich, Eugene Von Guerard through to Australian contemporaries including John Brack and Rick Amor.
Within the irresistible and beautiful tension of Nudelman’s work, four hundred years of landscape tradition has a truly contemporary champion.