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GALLERY : Driven to Inspiration

March 28, 1993

California is often decried as a land of glitz, neon and celluloid (or, these days, videotape).

But it has also been the inspiration for generations of painters, some of whose works appear in the new "Paintings of California."

Among the book's more than 70 images is this selection celebrating our love-hate relationship with the automobile.

The book notes that cars didn't appear often in California paintings until the late '20s.

But from there they roared, weaved and scooted--by the pristine gas stations of Edward Ruscha, through the eerie night scenes of James Doolin, across the sun-washed ribbon roads of Wayne Thiebaud, and into the highway reveries of Bruce Everett and Peter Alexander, whose nocturnal view of Van Nuys almost makes urban sprawl and clogged freeways look good.

Other auto-inspired images in the book include David Hockney's Mulholland Drive and Nicola Wood's homage to the gleaming-chrome beauty of a '60 Chevy.

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