Review: Mike Graves' 'Time on the Train' 

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click to enlarge Train Series 014, collaboration between Mike Graves and Lorax
  • Train Series 014, collaboration between Mike Graves and Lorax

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Trains bring Mike Graves back to a place "when he would sit back, put on his Walkman, and experience the sights and sounds" around him. He rode Chicago's "L" often, but it's the iconic image of a New York City subway train that repeats in his paintings, a symbol of the inner city. Graves employs a subway silhouette graphic across most of his canvases - almost as if screenprinted instead of painted in black. The motif brings unity throughout the collection.

Graves' exhibition includes collaborations with artists from the Bridge Collective, an Indianapolis artist cooperative. Collaborator Lorax added a collaged area of musical notes, plus playful color and cartoon character tags, on top of Graves's initial muted toned canvas in "Train Series 017." Lorax smartly painted the graffiti style imagery throughout the composition, not just within the train image's confines.

Music is again represented in Graves' "Music Train," which includes an expressionistic background paired with painted musical notes. The notes called out to be more drippy and organically painted, but Graves still conveyed the groove and feeling of the subway experience and the expressive energy of street art.

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Susan Watt Grade

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