Los Angeles

Tom Wudl

Eugenia Butler Gallery

Tom Wudl’s pictures at Eugenia Butler are pretty good; but, in a style where “just-rightness” is needed to bring the thing off (a plain two dimensional object posing as something significant), pretty good might not be enough. Wudl uses large (five or six feet square), unseamed sheets of heavy photo paper, hung by a wooden rod run through a loop at the top, on which he applies either copper, silver, or gold leaf. The leafing comes in small sheets, so the appliqué results in a subtle, slightly juggled, slanting grid, and the leaf is so thin, that it leaves, purposefully or not, little scuffs and scars, mostly in the form of black dots from the paper underneath. (The dots look “on top” of the ground.) Wudl uses all these arrows in his quiver: the grid comes and goes, there is a feeling in one picture of folding, and the surface incident is well employed, giving an esthetic depth to the pictures, lifting them, albeit slightly, out of the usual in processy objects. The small trouble is that Wudl doesn’t seem to understand the tough decisions of intentionality made by his immediate predecessors, like Darby Bannard, Agnes Martin, David Diao or Ed Moses.

Peter Plagens