The Adventures of Harlow and the Raven King: Paintings by Mab Graves 

Four stars

Harrison Center for the Arts. There is a loose story here — something about a girl named Harlow being left alone and neglected in the big world — but you don't have to put that frame on it in order to appreciate the paintings of the technically adept, imaginative and very young Mab Graves. The centerpiece of this show is "The Carnival" (gouache and acrylic on board) that pictures a whole parade of characters that inhabit Graves' universe; these include an upright fox dressed in a robe, a boy in a superhero uniform and a plethora of young girls in costume. The Manga craze seems to have had an influence on Graves' work, judging from the huge eyes on these girls. Her most engaging work seems more than slightly autobiographical; "Harlow Meets the Raven King" (gouache and acrylic on board) is one such example. In this painting, a white-haired girl in a pink dress (dressed much like Graves, at this particular opening) looks up with big eyes as the masked Raven King bows and offers his hand. If Graves' palette may seem too sugary to you, then ask yourself: What little girl, walking through the forest, wouldn't want to meet there the man of her dreams? Through Sept. 24; 396-3886;


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