Taking surrealistic cues from Dali and Magritte, painter Mihai Criste expands on the unusually expressive art form in his illusionary images. The Romania-based artist boasts a vast portfolio of imaginative works that tackle the cunning abilities of visual elements. Each image offers dual perspectives. It’s a matter of what the spectator sees first and their ability to reevaluate what’s in front of them, in order to see the optically crafty details. This viewing practice, for me, is then followed by admiration for the artist’s ability to see something more.
In addition to the optical illusions, there is a quirky presence in many of Criste’s paintings. In his piece entitled The King is dead. Long live the King., the artist presents an open-casket funeral for a chess piece, surrounded by its chess piece brethren. Criste breathes life into inanimate objects and really has an eye for seamlessly melding the inorganic and living worlds. Many of his works feature animals blending in with their environment, making it difficult to distinguish one from the other. The artist has really mastered the art of illusion, especially when incorporating birds and butterflies.