AUGUST 14 – 20, 1998

“Drawings”, “Drawings IV”

The pleasures of the text derive in part from the pleasures of the pen, and so do the pleasures of the picture. That is to say, there's nothing like a good drawing show to make one feel as if one has eaten an especially tasty and filling meal. (Except, perhaps, a tasty and filling meal.) Two surveys of contemporary drawing thus double the pleasures. (And if you throw in the Getty's "Landscape Drawings 1500-1900", the pleasures are trebled.) The accretion in Bergamot Station is the more focused, concentrating on the at-least-somewhat related work of seven local artists who are known for their unorthodox, even loopy imagery. This imagery ranges from the subtly off-kilter realism of Patti Wickman, F. Scott Hess and Peter Zokosky (who contributes endearing portraits of Nim, the "talking" chimp) to the absolute wackiness of Steve Galloway (responsible for some feverishly visionary landscapes) and Michael McMillen (who shows not only several of his dense, intricate quasi-cartoons, but a dopily elaborate "electromechanical drawing device in the 'abstract' stvle." complete with sales pitch). Chris Finley's Pop-ish non sequiturs ("I once Made a Noodle Gun") and Laura Lasworth's delicate hallucinations round out this roster.

The cast of characters showing in West Hollywood is a good deal longer, and spans both the globe and the last half century - so Rico Lebrun and Frank Stella hang with Robbie Conal and Masami Teraoka, and R.B. Kitaj and Oldrich Kulhanek share wallspace with Kerry James Marshall and Kent Twitchell. Among the highlights are Robert Colescott's uncharacteristically ruminative notation; John Frame's fabulations in (appropriately) eccentric frames; intimate narrative animal studies by Rebecca Morales and, once again, F. Scott Hess; delicate landscape spaces by Norman Lundin and Leonard Paschoal; impossibly precise figure renderings by Bill Vuksanovich, Susan Hauptman and Robert Schultz; assemblage-drawings by Sarah Perry; Sandow Birk's tiny, old-masterish studies for his ongoing series depicting the "great war" between San Francisco and L.A.; and, from back a ways, Paul Wonner's vigorous studies of early-'60s Santa Monica and Howard Warshaw's mural studies, cleverly multilayered with acetate.

"Drawings" at Hunsaker/Schlesinger, 2525 Michigan Ave. #T3, Santa Monica; thru Aug. 22. (310) 828-1133. "Drawings IV" at Koplin, 464 N. Robertson Blvd.; thru Sept. 12. (310) 657-9843

- Peter Frank