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THE GALLERIES

Wilshire Center

January 25, 1985|MARLENA DONOHUE

Joe Fay continues to show reliefs built from sculptured, vividly colored polyurethane foam. Fay shapes foam into whimsical pictograph-like imagery of coyotes driving cars, city skylines, and airborne pick-up trucks descending into machine-crammed desert landscapes. Where '82 works carried certain iconic reverberations, new works have become increasingly noncommittal, hanging somewhere between maverick humor and myth, holding any resolution uncomfortably at bay.

The irreducible unit linking Fay's late-'70s abstractions, the '82 works and these wall-mounted dioramas is a persistently interesting, all-over, zigzag patterning that brings to mind primitive calligraphy, foliage, jagged teeth or the stylized lightning bolts from cartoon animation. It covers the entire surface of these deep, encrusted wall works (and two free-standing totems) as if to perversely insist on the ultimate two-dimensionality of mark-making.

Fay wields the designs as line or shading might be used to build descriptive detail. Comic and allegorical, cagey and serious, the signature squiggles become correlates for an entire sensibility. (Roy Boyd Gallery, 170 La Brea Ave., to Feb. 16.).

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