Does art imitate life? Or, is life – with all its subtle shades, shimmering moments and bold stokes – reflected in art? Monica Nudelman will have to get back to you for the answer. She’s still creating both – her art and a new life. The two are shaped, in many ways, by the same influences.
Nudelman is an artist living in North Vancouver with her two daughters, ages 19 and 16. Originally from Brazil, she started a new life for herself in this country about a year-and-a-half ago.
“I always loved the country (Canada) and wanted opportunity for my girls and me,” she says. “You have a wonderful country. People are so polite. Everyone is respectful. I feel very happy here.”
One of the reasons she feels at home is the new focus on her second career. She simply has always wanted to be an artist.
Nudelman is pleased to say she is now a permanent resident of Canada. She came here to pursue a career, and is now fulfilling that dream, explaining how she could not survive as an artist in her native country, where she studied art at university. “It’s a shame I didn’t have the opportunity when I was young,” she says.
But she is not looking back. The focus is straight ahead to the future.
Her work, which can be best described as contemporary, features bold colours and collage techniques. She works on canvas, wood and furniture.
“I like to explore materials to find something new,” she says, explaining that she often combines elements. “I always transform images into something new. I like to join pieces and make a new scenario.”
For her, it’s about giving an image a new context, a new purpose, a new life in a different setting. So is art imitating life for Nudelman? Or is her life inspiring the works she is creating? Again, the answer is not
“I feel that I can transform things that nobody cares about into art,” she says.
In a small studio she has built in her home, Nudelman paints every day. Due to space limitations, she often works on small pieces, but hopes to expand to larger surfaces. She is accustomed to large canvases of sorts, she says, pointing to past commissions, including painting a feature wall for a new hotel.
Sometimes working with a piece of reclaimed wood or an old window shutter, she looks to start with something established and give it a new direction. “Each piece has a story, a history to tell,” she says. “Like when you see a piece of old wood with a lot of layers of paint, you can imagine how many people painted it.”
Nudelman’s work has been featured in a few exhibits in the Vancouver area, including one at the Britannia Community Centre.
Before coming to Canada, her works were also included in exhibitions in Cannes, Paris and Brazil.
“I feel complete when I work,” she says, as she attempts to express why her new start in Canada means so much to her. “When I work, I feel I live; I feel so creative.”
The viewer feels the vibrancy in her work, too. “People always say they love the colours I use. The experience I’ve had until now is that my work makes people see something beautiful. I love colours; I love colours and the possibilities you can draw.”
She is talking about her art. But the statement could also apply to her new life. •