Today, we live in a universe where astronauts can tweet us their selfies from orbit. It’s hard to believe that not long ago, artists and scientists alike had to use their imagination to envision the starry yonder. Indianapolis artist Mab Graves has often looked to the glorious space illustrations of the 1930s to 1970s for the inspiration of her fantastical dreamland, an ever-expanding universe populated by big-eyed waifs and their animal friends. Featured here on our blog, her sweet and carefree characters have developed a wild streak, where in recent works, they daringly venture into the splendid and infinite cosmos. Graves’ upcoming solo at Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia furthers her character’s love for adventure in imaginative new images that blend science and fiction.
There are many great artists whose primary medium include pencil and paper, but the artist’s sketch is not always intended as a finished work. A sketch may serve a number of purposes: it might record something that the artist sees, it might develop an idea for later use or it might be used as a quick way of graphically demonstrating an image. For those who refer to drawing to work out their ideas, a sketch becomes a rare piece seldom shared with their audience. As such, there is a special air of mystery that is associated with drawings. We’ve featured artists’ drawings in our Sketchbook Series on our blog, and in our print issues, where we’ve shone a light on scarcely shown sketch work by artists like Marco Mazzoni, and Femke Hiemstra, and Mark Ryden, to name a few. A new group exhibition “Lápiz, Papel o Tijera” (Pencil, Paper, Scissors) at Plastic Murs gallery in Spain aims to do the same for 30 artists.
Now on view, Mab Graves’ exhibition “Spectrum” at Auguste Clown Gallery manifests her inspirations with adventurous new themes and characters. The most prominent is the retro doll character with Big Eyes, Blythe, reinvented in Graves’ world as a goddess and a ray-gun shooting explorer with a carefree spunk. Her storybook animal sidekicks are right out of Aesop’s Fables like The Tortoise and the Hare, and other tales with important life lessons.
No more than a few inches high, these tiny paintings by Indiana-based artist Mab Graves are very much in the spirit of the winter season. In the slightly off-putting style of Big Eyes’ Margaret Keane (Vol 34), her dolly-eyed misfits adventure through haunting wintery landscapes and county fairs. Inspired by fairytales and classic literature, along the way they make friends with characters like dachshunds and the Dish who ran away with the Spoon. They always seem to be fleeing- emancipated from the bleakness of reality into Graves’ dream world.