Santa Barbara

Tom Wudl

Center of Creative Studies

Tom Wudl’s paintings continue to be anomalies, even in a town full of anomalous, isolated artists. His work of the last year or so, minus one large and obviously significant painting, was shown recently. The absence of the big painting, a three-panel, gold-leaf extravaganza that seems to be a compendium of Wudl’s symbols, prevents the clearest possible understanding of the other pictures, just as the inclusion of two small gouache drawings—the latest work—complicates any prognostication.

All of Wudl’s mature work has been eccentric, both in imagery and its luxurious sensuality. His paper constructions of colored geometric shapes collaged to a perforated ground, often embellished with gold leaf, were memorable, partly because of their physical richness, and partly because they became more legible, almost stridently so, year by year. The evolution was from an essentially formal organization

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