The realism in Mihanović’s paintings in no way represents actual reality, but rather, the perfected hyper-realistic visualization shows the artist’s enhanced recollection of distant memories and an idealized, elemental, and from childhood ingrained encounter with the phenomenon of the sea and the maritime landscape of the Adriatic coast. Some paintings recall an abundance of summer radiance that creates feelings of pure joy while others epitomize a recollection of that unique moment when one experiences the beauty of a wondrously calm early morning or late afternoon, filled with inner peace and a feeling of complete oneness with nature. And how much inspiration can one moment of recollection contain? Sometimes, enough to last a lifetime.
Mihanović’s paintings involve a latent, yet deliberate and unavoidable removal from reality. The piers are empty, the fishing boats are motionless and the sea is at a perfect standstill. Fishermen who occasionally appear on the canvas are consumed by their tasks and have no connection to the audience – they live in their own world, disconnected from the hectic pace of an urbanized rhythm. The painted figures communicate only with the sea, using their fishing pole and oars, and in doing so gently disturb the calm water, leaving behind ripples that remind us that time does in fact exist, even when it appears as though it stands still before the remarkable, unmoving sea.
Mihanović’s primary motifs – the seaside villages, piers, boats and the traditional world of fishermen – depict a landscape that is slowly vanishing from our world today. This realization infuses the paintings with an atmosphere of non-reality and a nostalgic desire to, at least on the canvas, suspend the primordial experience of the difficult, yet beautiful archaic life on Croatia’s Adriatic coast. They tell us that after all the challenges of searching for one’s true voice amidst the manifold artistic directions of the 1970s in Paris, Mihanović found his inspiration in his roots, in his memories of a happy childhood spent by the sea when he first experienced the enchantment of blissful summer serenity.