Friedlande's landscapes with figured are evocative scenes – celebrating the South African landscape with acacias and curved horizons – but more than this. He depicts a specific tension, something of which the viewer was vaguely aware of but could not pinpoint. Studying his work one recognizes aspects of instability in the landscape; in the relationship between people (Race Day and The two Faces of Fate) or in the way people are dealing with and in their surroundings. It is the body language (or the secret language of the body) that Friedlande manages to portray the tenderness of the unspoken and the unspeakable. And the manifestation of tension.
Friedlande's world is not flat, is not even. His figures live in a world that could destabilize them instantly. They could fall off at any time. They inhabit a fragile world. Living aware of their own fragility. (Greek in Decline).
Whereas Friedlande has shown in previous work his skill of painting skin and flesh, with this exhibition he reiterates his ability to play with temperature. His use of colour (and he is not scared of using colour) raises the temperature in his work – creating a sense of a hostile environment or adding to the inner turmoil of the figures inhabiting the landscape.
His work is meticulous yet not overworked. He maintains a remarkable balance between the painted surface and what lies behind the applied paint. As if the artist allows the viewer something of the process, something of what is not said. In doing this Friedlande's work gain a palimpsest quality. Nothing is simple. Nothing is legible at face value alone. There is a layer of meaning. And meaning is always instable What Friedlande does is to "interrogate the opposing forces of balance and disorder" and to offer us his “search for the elusive moment when the painting comes together in disorientated harmony.