A Survey of Transition 20 March - 16 April - Gecko Studio Gallery, Fish Creek, Victoria
Adam Nudelman has always been an acute observer of the natural world. A keen walker, and somewhat of an explorer, he has immersed himself in nature, both wild and tame, closely examining every detail and subsequently capturing its wonderment in paintings and drawings. Over the last few years, the lands around Corner Inlet and the vistas across to Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria’s southeast have not only been his central artistic concern, it has also been home. A former city-boy, Nudelman now lives amongst the dairy farms of the region, perched high above the rolling hills with a permanent view across the water to the peaks of the Prom. This body of work is as much about what the artist’s sees as it is about him finding his place in this new landscape, this new community. It is a body of work about change, about growth and about key transitional milestones in one’s life.
Nudelman is known for his expansive and quiet landscapes which are often populated with a solitary signpost or the skeletal remains of playgrounds, buildings and ship hulls. Always absent of human figures, his works do suggest a human presence: often from the past and in particular, of his European forefathers. In these new paintings, however, the presence of the artist replaces the presence of others, experienced through the artist’s gaze, through his viewpoint. Nudelman is not so much in the work as he is outside of it. Each painting is experienced as if it us that stands looking across the inlet to those two islands; it is as if we are standing at the easel, making sense of the landscape before us, making sense of how we now fit in. We are encouraged to be at one with the view, to interrogate it and study it closely. To discover that each painting – while structurally and content-wise the same – is in fact always painted from a slightly different point of view; a metaphor for the way life is always in flux, swaying back and forth ever so subtly.
While these works, like of all of Nudelman’s past endeavours, is grounded deeply in a conceptual exploration they are very much a celebration of the landscape and the natural world. Painted over a thirty six-month period, they capture the changing moods, the changing light and the changing seasons which appear across a small corner of these lands. Viewing the works, one can begin to identify winter from summer, autumn from spring. The sky –always dominant – morphs from stormy and brewing greys, to the crystal-like clarity of a deep blue through to the orange of a summer’s setting sun. They reveal an acute sense of watching and a maturing understanding and acceptance of the world in which the artist now finds himself. Moreover, they capture the great expansiveness of the region, the wide plain of water, the wild and untamed corners of the timberlands of the Prom and the vastness of the sky within the frames of small and intimate canvasses. Our sense of the sublime, the impact of the power of the natural world, is not influenced or mediated by the large physical scale of the painting. Instead, we are overwhelmed by space and breadth through the power of masterful composition, execution and most importantly observation.
Nudelman is a serious artist who continues to work within the long-standing genre of landscape painting. Like those before him, he has the capacity to capture the beauty and power of the natural world. However, his works are always more than just a view. They are personal interrogations of the artist’s place in the world, an exploration of his heritage and a constant source of finding, shaping and understanding his own identity. These new works, an exercise of restraint, commitment and constantly looking, are introspective and honest. They present, without fuss, a three year period in the life of the artist. Three years of finding his place in his new home. Three years which surveys a very personal transition.
Dr Vincent Alessi
Department of Creative Arts and English
La Trobe University, Melbourne