Freshness where freshness is due
Special to The Times

To say that drawing is in vogue at the moment is to issue a statement as basic in a commercial sense as a morning stock report, and yet to utter something historically ludicrous. Imagining drawing ever falling out of favor is like predicting a day when song or breath becomes obsolete.

A group show of recent drawings at Hunsaker/Schlesinger Fine Art affirms the medium's primal appeal. Not all that hangs here is brilliant, but a certain freshness prevails, an immediacy inherent to the medium itself.

Enjeong Noh 's two self-portraits are prime examples, gems of direct observation. In their intricacy and delicacy, Laura Lasworth’s pencil drawings of lace circles are parallel acts of humble handwork. Their distilled beauty conjures the patterning of snowflakes and flowers as well as the sacredness of cathedral rose windows.

Mercedes Helnweln's two drawings, one in pen, the better one in pencil, each show a palr of young women in darkness, as if in hiding. The raking light of promise or release sculpts their features.

The freshest surprise of the show - which also includes work byHilary BraceSteve GallowayColin GrayRobin Palanker,Raymond SaundersPatty Wickman and Peter Zokosky - is a wonderfully eccentric piece by Adonna Khare.

To render her large carbon pencil drawing, Khare has channeled Hieronymus Bosch, Alexis Rockman and her neighbor in the show, Zokosky. Nothing is where it ordinarily belongs in this swamp-scene of hybrid creatures practicing dentistry, jumping through hoops and dangling on swings. It's a peaceable kingdom overall, friendly as an illustration of a children's tale, but quirky and campy enough to whet the appetite for more from Khare, a graduate student at Cal State Long Beach.

Hunsaker/Schlesinger Fine Art. Bergamot Station 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 828-1133. through Aug. 21. Closed Sunday and Monday.