Arts & Culture

Exhibits at Cuesta College and Cal Poly will ignite your passion for art

Tom Wudl poses near his piece titled 'Birth of Jan Van Eyck and the Extent of His Influence on the Art of Painting, for a Period of 600 Years,' part of the exhibit at Cuesta College.
Tom Wudl poses near his piece titled 'Birth of Jan Van Eyck and the Extent of His Influence on the Art of Painting, for a Period of 600 Years,' part of the exhibit at Cuesta College.

The University Art Gallery at Cal Poly and the Cuesta College Art Gallery regularly offer exhibits well worth the drive and effort to fit their limited hours into your schedule.

You’ll see well-displayed art by serious artists.

During my latest visit to the two campuses, I focused on one of the most important services these galleries provide: Inspiration.

Art gives me and the general public something to think about, something to like or dislike.

But for Cal Poly and Cuesta art students, the work in these galleries and the interactions they have with the visiting artists are pure inspiration.

When I walked into the Tom Wudl retrospective at the Cuesta College Art Gallery, I overheard a woman talking excitedly about the paintings. She was saying that the Los Angeles artist’s work was as good as anything you’d see hanging around the county.

I looked over and saw that she was a student giving a tour to one of the board of trustees. She was knowledgeable about the artist and his work and clearly inspired.

Reading about an artist who works with acrylic paint and gold leaf on tracing paper might not get a student too worked up, but seeing Wudl’s large-scale “King of Diamonds” and “Queen of Hearts” hanging side by side on campus is another story. You could spend an hour going over them inch by inch to take in the intricacies.

The Cuesta College Gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and is next to the Cultural and Performing Arts Center. See Wudl’s work through Dec. 13.

Cal Poly is featuring an alumni group show. The impressive variety includes celebrity photography, New York Times illustrations, wood sculpture and painting. I asked the student watching the gallery about the celebrity photographer, Tommy Garcia, and she mentioned how inspired she was when the 2007 graduate spoke on campus about getting jobs in the art world.

The other alumni artists are Heather Finnecy (BFA, 2007), Laura Krifka (BFA, 2008), Erik Marinovich (B.S., 2003), Grant Shaffer (B.S., 1989) and Garet Zook (BFA, 2006).

Ask to see the handout where artists reflect on their time at Cal Poly.

The University Art Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday on the Cal Poly campus on the ground floor of the Dexter Art Building (Building 34). The exhibit runs through Friday.

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