Originally from Russia and now living in the U.S., Michael Cheval’s flights of imaginative visions might be called “magic realism”, though classifying this kind of work is always a slippery process.
Certainly not “surrealism”, a term often used casually and incorrectly to describe fantastic art, though you may see nods to the visual language of Surrrealist painters like Dalí, Magritte and Paul Delvaux in Cheval’s work, you’ll find even more reference to baroque and classical painters.
In classifying his own work, Cheval bypasses these concerns by using the term “absurdity”, referring to his various series by names like “Nature of Absurdity”, “Eternity of Absurdity”, “Illusions of Absurdity”, and so on.
In addition to the galleries on his website of those series, he also has a section of drawings, and another of portraits, in which he has cast his sitters in his absurdist roles and settings, often with reference to their occupations or preoccupations.
Cheval has obviously given some study to classical painting technique and brings a sophisticated touch to his freely imagined subjects. Cheval plays with scale, recursion, perspective and collage-like juxtapositions of objects and spaces, toying with the viewer’s expectations and preconceptions. He often repeats themes such as chessboards, marionettes, jesters, musicians, theatre and fancy dress balls.
[Note: some of the images can be considered NSFW]
[Via Artist A Day]