The “exographilia” sculptures of Michael Gonzalez may each stand about an inch high, but they’re hardly offhand; rather, they seem to have been fabricated with a perverse yet poignant willfulness, as if a lonely Gonzalez were inventing his own pets. Conjured from tubular braiding wire, these hand-size mouse-crab hybrids slink, writhe and otherwise contort, their biomorphic suppleness bordering on the creepy — and the endearing. Despite their almost taxonomic display in grid format, their rearing and torquing make them as cunning as the sweetest pup in the pound.

There is something likewise lovably weird about Tyler Stallings’ new paintings, something beyond their own small scale. These vertiginously up-close painted depictions of ?poked and ripped photographs (or magazine pages) confound eye and mind, flipping perception back and forth between levels of imagery (the image of the paper depicted on the canvas and the image on the paper depicted on the canvas) and levels of material (the paper, the stuff we see through its holes, the canvas itself). David McDonald’s far more stolid concretions provide what appears to be firmer ground; even the flat matte colors of his abstract paintings, concocted of acrylic, wax and joint compound, sit tidily on wood panels, while his four-square table towers are sturdy enough to lean on. But our perception skews here, too, as McDonald constantly interrupts pattern and seemingly defies the basics of sound construction, improbably realizing so many handsome, self-possessed objects.

Michael Gonzalez at Solo Projects, 177 S. Sycamore Ave. Suite B, L.A.; Wed.-Sat., noon-5 p.m.; thru June 10. (310) 428-2964. Tyler Stallings and David McDonald at Newspace, 5241 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; thru June 17. (323) 469-9353.

—Peter Frank

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