Symbolism works in the arts because it's economical. A well-placed symbol can speak out beyond the limitations of direct representation, even past the symbolist's intentions, expanding to suit the viewer.
Wang Niandong is a symbolist painter. His work is on view at Mandarin Fine Art Gallery (1294 So. Coast Highway). The gallery is also showing some very interesting pastel studies, but go to see the large-scale oils on linen, crammed into the small space just inches away from each other.
They are large indeed, and jaw-dropping, so prepare yourself. His iconography falls into patterns and repetitions, true to the symbolist tradition. There are road signs. There are butterflies. There are animals and plants, and many compositions are set under deep blue water (either a pool or the ocean).