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La Cienega Area

With his newest painted sculptural reliefs, Doug Edge reins in the zany, Greek mythology-based allusions of earlier work. These colorful wood and bronze wall pieces are no less superbly fashioned or light hearted, but they seem decidedly less didactic. In this series, symbol cross-breeds with pattern for mutual enrichment. Polyester suits, striped like Joseph’s coat, merge with allusions to aboriginal scarification in “Sea Side Toto,” a rambunctious, primitive, good-time spirit. A similarly patterned pair of elongated legs and faceted, serpentine torso stride stiffly beside the sea in the playfully tense “Walking the Floor.”

Much of this exhibit focuses on the relief pattern possibilities of rolling aquamarine seas. The water’s shifting surface is broken down into repetitive, converging shallow relief segments reminiscent of the stylized water seen on Greek urns and fragments of Art Deco design. The rosy sky at the horizon is a contrasting flat but painterly surface.

This combination of pink sky and faceted sea the color of anodized copper quickly becomes decorative when left on its own but it does make an effective ground. In pieces like “Neptune,” the design of the water forms a backdrop to the swirling-skin patterns of a large aqua hand. It’s a nicely done re-representation of the mythical ruler of the deep.

Beneath Edge’s alluring surface of fractured oceans rests a vein of sardonic amusement that is hard to pin down. It’s hinted at in the manic grinning dogs, water body parts and bulging cyclones he uses enigmatically throughout. It gives the work a serious undercurrent that is intriguing. (Gallery 454 North, 454 N. Robertson Blvd., to Nov. 30.)

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