One could say that Surrealism as a movement is a way for artists to seek distraction from the mundane and engage in fantasy. On his current exhibition at AFA Gallery, painter Daniel Merriam shares, “Although I may be guilty of a little denial, it’s enabled me to go to the edge and back, which is kind of where people expect an artist to go.” Spanning over 20 new watercolor paintings, titled “Now You See Me: The Art of Escapism”, he allows himself to overcome the limitations of reality in this latest series. “Escapists” are generally described as depressed individuals, unhappy in their current state. Merriam’s art (previously featured here) has always sought inspiration from real life, which he elaborates into colorful visions of a Victorian-style magical world filled with imaginary creatures. In his own words, “taking it by surprise.” Conceptually, Merriam does not hold back but his painting style requires a very careful hand and discipline. His dry brush technique feels effortless while also providing control of the execution of the composition. Washes of colors fade out softly and gradually, giving each piece the dreamy quality that Merriam has become recognized for. Rendered with such exquisite detail, he makes escaping into these dreamlike lands easy for the viewer. “Now You See Me: The Art of Escapism” is now on view at AFA Gallery through June 7th.