Adam Nudelman’s recent exhibition at Art Equity in Sydney (In Our Private Universe, 7 – 22 March, 2013) displayed the work of an artist at the height of his creative powers – the culmination of years of art making and countless hours spent immersed in the landscape recording its many moods and moments. These works are undeniably romantic, revealing natures most captivating secrets. Yet they are also rendered with the cool breed of refined realism that for over two decades Nudelman has steadily developed while depicting Australia’s varied terrain. In this body of work he responds to one of Australia’s most remote and haunting locales;
“For inspiration, Nudelman returns to his beloved central plateau of Tasmania… this is a landscape that has been the foundation of his practice since his self-imposed exile into the highlands in 2009. His burning desire was to not merely record the obvious geological structures of the place, but to image the very essence of the landscape. The feelings of elation, isolation and drama that the Australian landscape dredges from your soul is at the very core of his work.” (Ralph Hobbs, February 2012)
Whether depicting a Tasmanian or Victorian environment, visionary skies that feature dramatic light breaking through dark clouds, and incredibly subtle shifts in colour and tone are a defining characteristic of Nudelman’s work. In this series the artist appears to be pushing the capabilities of the materials, and his own skills, to the extreme through rendering the intangible atmospheric qualities of the heavens with ever more fine and translucent glazes of oil paint. The resulting cloud-scapes are anchored by the weighty bands of earth and water which reside below.
While embracing the spectacular optical effects of billowing clouds and luminous sunsets, there is a shade of melancholy that colours these works with a poignant emotional resonance. Always devoid of people, they sometimes contain the trace of habitation which has been long since abandoned, such as the overgrown tire tracks leading inexplicably to the waters edge in Gate at Lake Augusta (2012). If anything such works are populated by echoes, and serve as both a beautiful and poetic reminder of the transience of our human existence against the inexorable forces of nature and time.
© Marguerite Brown 2013