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Keen observations flow through Andrew Holmes' drawings, videos

Keen observations flow through Andrew Holmes' drawings, videos
Paramount, 2013.

One of the best exhibitions now on view in Los Angeles occupies the partially built-out corner of a concrete building that resembles a multi-level parking structure being converted into loft-style offices.

At the corner of La Brea Avenue and 4th Street, the construction project is slated to house Ace Museum, an offshoot of Ace Gallery, which has been a fixture in Los Angeles since 1967.

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Ace Gallery is no run-of-the-mill venue, and Andrew Holmes' exhibition in the museum's project space adds to its legacy of mold-breaking idiosyncrasy.

You enter through a rolling door off a rear parking lot (behind the stainless steel sculpture of Lenin wearing a propeller-topped beanie). The space is raw. A single attendant sits on a folding chair at a folding table. A few phone lines run to electrical outlets.

No wall labels get in the way of your experience of Holmes' works. Nor does a checklist provide information about the British artist's 14 color pencil drawings of trucks, cars and motor homes or his 10 two-hour videos, all playing simultaneously on 10 monitors lined up on a long table. The setup feels like a downtown start-up or a private museum outside America.

Holmes' drawings are knockouts: virtuoso displays of keen observations. In many, light dances off polished metal, catching reflections of the visible world in the curved surfaces of tankers, pickups and custom-painted cars. Even junked vehicles look beautiful in Holmes' super-realistic pictures, which treat ordinarily overlooked details as occasions for extraordinary attentiveness.

The videos work well as a group, transforming the open road into an open-ended story about the various ways automobiles have shaped the American landscape, not to mention its people.

Ace Museum, 400 S. La Brea Ave., (323) 965-8200, through September. Open Tues.-Fri. www.acemuseum.org

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