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  'Lil' Giants'
Through Sat/2, Heather Marx Gallery

DENISE AND SCOTT Davis didn't always work together, but these days they do so as the husband-and-wife photographic team Davis and Davis. They have left the larger-than-life world of fashion photography for the small, quiet realm of children's toys. The toys they like best have been lost or abandoned. Davis and Davis rescue them from parking lots, sidewalks, and thrift stores; clean them up; and arrange them into still-life scenes that range from goofy to disturbing. On display at the Heather Marx Gallery are about 20 images from their two current series, Childish Things and Family Case Studies. The former is a set of minipsychodramas in which the artists imagine the kinds of ordeals that might have caused the original owners to cast the toys away. The character in Heidi delicately steps over a little stream running through a meadow, completely unaware that the reflective water is giving us a crystal-clear view of her underpants. That's nothing, however, compared with the predicament of the figure in Whale Boy, who is marooned on an iceberg with a snarling polar bear, and who has no idea that a killer whale is about to swallow him in one chomp. The Family Case Studies series is similarly playful. Davis and Davis hope to make us chuckle at the idea of psychologists at a professional conference discussing the dynamics of a family like the one depicted in The Nauts. Mr. Naut, wearing his full astronaut gear, fades into the background of the picture, while his daughter, wearing a pink dress and a battered astronaut helmet, primly stands in front. Maybe it's about overly demanding parental expectations or the child's ambitious delusions of grandeur; Davis and Davis leave it up to us to decide what familial drama (or trauma) these abandoned toys are playing out. Tues.-Fri., 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 77 Geary, Second floor, S.F. (415) 627-9111. (Lindsey Westbrook)