San Francisco Bay Guardian January 23, 2002
By Lindsey Westbrook
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.Through Sat/2,
Heather Marx Gallery
77 Geary, Second floor,