I can understand how someone might be bored by landscape paintings, and I can see why someone else might not be moved by abstract art. But as these paintings by Adam Friedman show us, when you combine the two on a single canvas, the results are arresting.
In Friedman’s works, mountains and rivers are sliced up and scattered–millions of years of geological activity deconstructed and carefully rearranged. Planes of existence, or perhaps entire dimensions, open up or fold on top of each other or just drop away. It’s nature, sure–Friedman paints jagged cliffs and starry skies with the care of a true naturalist, even if those features only show up as a heap of broken fragments–but it’s not quite like any vista you’ve seen before.
And that, largely is the point. Friedman has a deep affinity for nature, but he aims to show it through an entirely new lens. Though he loves the grand landscapes of the Hudson River School, he says that his main influences are authors–specifically those that offer some unexpected view of the natural world. “A good writer has a way of putting the indescribable into words,” he says. “I’m not good with words, but my brain works in images. So often phrases or quotes from whatever I’m currently reading become the title and concept of a piece. … I look at painting as this struggle to bring an idea to life.”
Granted, Friedman’s landscapes can look more like glimpses of alien planets than anything you’re likely to see out your window. And while he’s not going for sci-fi, he doesn’t mind that interpretation. “I think that science fiction attempts to visualize a world very different from everyday perspectives, and that’s exactly what I try to do in the paintings … without the aliens and spaceships, of course.”