Cristian Prandea’s paintings are familiar, yet strange, otherworldly, yet immersive. While they are often non-figurative, there is a level of abstraction that takes the simplest and most recognizable of forms into another space, disassociated from the tangible.
We find ourselves looking at figures, shapes, and colors that hover between the opposing forces from which they are brought forth, namely, the physical and the digital, representative and abstract, graphical and human. These binaries become fluid through the contrasting qualities that comprise Cristian’s practice.
His works have emerged as instantiations of digital technology and cultural reflection, catalyzed by a collision of the textual and the visual, content and form, the perceptual and the experiential, the physical and the conceptual.
Cristian often begins his process by using an iPad to make digital drawings. Drawing, perhaps one of the quickest ways for an artist to translate a thought into something visual, is made almost immediate by sketching with the iPad. Drawing and erasing become swiping and undoing, enabling the ability to endlessly render and alter images. This method of working is inherently more visceral than analog drawing techniques, in that the hand is actually freer, unrestrained, and spontaneous, yielding entirely expressive results from what seem to be the simplest of lines. Mistakes, chance, and the accidental thus become central to Cristian's playful and curious explorations on and through the screen, and subsequently on canvas.
His paintings depict the foggy residue left over from each stroke. Both color-based drawings and larger paintings are riddled with the marks and annotations of the work itself. He continues the process, unaltered, as the painting is completed, then re-works them, allowing the act of painting itself to be an active agent in creating meaning in the surface of the piece. Cristian states, "I like the relationship between the idea and the mark, and how they can create a new one. I am more interested in the process than the final product." His work is a stand-in for all of the useless work we are all made to do in everyday life, pushed into a form of passive labor that has less value and meaning than it might have had.
While currently residing in the Netherlands, Prandea continues to produce artworks that are thought-provoking and visually fascinating. As a painter, his born digital paintings are: stark and supple, opaque and lucid, stable and fleeting. His work does not follow a linear path; rather, his art is a deep mix of image and time and a relentless flow of interaction between materiality and image.