The latest series of Tom Wudl’s metaphorical acrylic paintings and works on paper is on display through Saturday, December 24th, at the L.A. Louver Gallery, 45 Venice Blvd., Venice. Admission is free.

Wudl’s paintings are filled with symbolism and interpretive dreamlike imagery and tragicomic scenes. His latest series extensively uses cloves, hearts and diamonds — the imagery of playing cards for symbolic purposes.

Solo exhibitions of Wudl’s work have been held for the past 30 years, and he has exhibited at least eight times at Venice’s L.A. Louver Gallery since 1983.

Wudl says his early works were “agents of literature and poetry.”

Originally, Wudl made works on paper, but switched to painting in 1975. He continued this through 1995, when he gravitated back to doing works on paper. He now regularly works in and combines both media, such as adding pencil charcoal and gold leaf to his acrylic painting “The Gift.”

The influence of Panofsky’s “Early Netherlandish Painting” led Wudl to adopt illusionist strategy in his work, he says.

Of the seemingly arcane symbolism in his works, Wudl has said, “No matter how private the symbol, it speaks a universal language.”

Wudl cites a heavy influence of early and pre-Renaissance Italian religious paintings.

His work has been included in the collections of The Contemporary Museum of Honolulu; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA), Chicago and San Diego; Orange County Museum of Art; Palm Springs Desert Museum; Pepperdine University Museum of Art; and the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art among others.

Wudl was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia and immigrated to the United States at age ten in 1958.

He was a recipient of the “Young Talent Award” from LACMA in 1972 and received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1975.

He received his art education at Chouinard Art School in Los Angeles and has been an instructor at a number of universities, including the University of California, Irvine; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); University of California, Santa Barbara; and Otis-Parsons School of Art and Design (now Otis College of Art + Design). For the past dozen years he has given private instruction.

Aside from traditional curriculum, Wudl has taught more offbeat or obscurely themed subjects such as “Boredom, De- pression and Desperation in the Studio and Fun in the Kitchen” and “Technique and Content in the Works of the Flemish Masters.”

Internationally, Wudl has shown his work at “Documenta 5,” Paris Biennale, Nagoya City Museum and Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo.

Wudl was included in the 1974 artistic survey Painting and Sculpture in Southern California at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; a special compilation at LACMA of abstract art from 1890 to 1985; and The Whitney Biennial of 1989.

Also, Wudl’s work was the subject of an early survey, “Tom Wudl: Paintings 1975-1982” at Arco Center for the Visual Arts in Los Angeles.

Aside from L.A. Louver, other galleries Wudl has frequented include a handful in New York — the Sydney Jannis Gallery, the Ron Feldman Gallery; Paula Cooper Gallery; and the Annina Nosei Gallery.

Information, (310) 822-4955.

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