Essay for 2010 Exhibition A Generous Allotment
Adam Nudelman is a painter of exceptional talent. He achieves what most people believe is central to good art: making it look real. This is no more apparent than in the skies which dominate this body of work. From the glow of the morning light to the foreboding sky of an approaching storm, Nudelman follows in the footsteps of Ruisdael, Constable and Turner capturing the subtleties and beauty of the ever-changing umbrella under which we live. Like his predecessors, he steers away from the kitsch and the stereotype. The sun bursting through dense clouds, the pink hue colouring a late afternoon sky or low-lying clouds rolling in across distant ranges are the result of extensive watching, studying and learning. Nudelman articulates that feeling of pure wonderment experienced when we stand before nature at its most beautiful.
However, Nudelman’s work goes far beyond the mere representational. It is more than just making it look real. His works are a collage, a composite, a constructed reality. They challenge the viewer ever so subtly, pushing us into a world at once known but also eerily foreign. Once dominated by skeletal towers, monkey bars and geodesic domes Nudelman’s recent landscapes are punctuated with long cavernous ship hulls, the graphic ghosts of modernist architecture and solitary survey markers: structures familiar but often in a different guise and context. The ship hulls, pristine and delicate despite being stripped of their skin, stretch forlornly across the canvas, surreally miles away from the water where they once floated. The lines of Lloyd Wright and Seidler-like modernist houses rise from grasslands where there are no signs of inhabitation. Solid markers stand lost in the landscape as if they have been mysteriously placed under the cloak of darkness. These ambiguous punctuations add a psychological nature to the work. Some contain the idea of presence rather than being present while others, relic-like, imbue a sense of a lost dynasty.
Nudelman, like his work, is of a contradictory nature. He is an artist firmly entrenched in the past: classical in technique, aware of the science and rules of composition and fascinated by the sublime like Turner, Constable and Ruisdael before him. However, he is very much an artist of today: aware of contemporary discourse, engaged with the psychology possible in picture making and constantly looking for ways to rediscover, rearticulate and represent the world in which we live.