Boris I. Asvarisch, State Hermitage Senior Researcher Worker (1991)
His first steps in art were defined by conscious learning and then by absorbing the lessons of painters like Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, and Kandinskiy.
The influence of painters of similar spirit is not simple imitation, but is a process of consciously assimilating numerous tendencies and directions not only in art but also in science and philosophy. His wide range of interest, embracing many layers in the art of painting, is a typical feature of Efi as a painter and thinker. In his quest for starting points, the painter often derives his inspiration from the remote past. Archaic life attracts him more and more because of its naive perception of the world. While establishing his own style and rendering his conscious themes, he comes to a clean-cut, reserved, sometimes almost monochrome range expression. The artist does not paint abstract compositions. But he reduces the profound world of his painting to a Sign, the meaning of which is clear to him, and is to be revealed to his audience. Sometimes his images are evoked by memories of childhood and by spontaneous perception of life. More often they are the result of accumulated experience, but these sings are always connected to humanist values, comprehensive and close to all people. ” The sense of art for me”, explains the painter, ” is to bind together the revelations of great masters of the past as Leonardo, Durer, El Greco – and the discoveries of the great reformers or the 20-th century.”
Andrey Fomenko, art researcher, “World of Design” Magazine (1997)
In the artistic work of Andrey Efi some paintings can be singled out as close to abstractionism, or some close to figurative art but that definition would be voluntary and subjective. Abstract forms take the form of animated substances, and images are of a generalized conditional character. That’s why the artist’s paintings are never fully abstract. Even if we cannot make any parallels to reality there is still the impression of space and movement full of life and purpose. The names of the pictures are typical. In the monotype “lmpulse” we can see two lines, two trajectories drawn by two different bodies – a grey triangle and the line is winding and fanciful with a red circle moving directly on until it turns at a right angle. Thus the simplest geometrical figures obtain the significance of living organisms or animated substances, space is penetrated by time – the time of development and formation. One can even specify the types and stages of the formation: slow growth corresponding to the motives of the “world tree”, the root system and the initial element of the earth, a swift flight closely connected with the general theme of the night sky, falling stars and fireworks, the outburst of spilling colors on the surface of the canvas or paper. In the “Presage” the contours of two human bodies are formed of geometrical forms “by your eye”.The concrete incarnation of the universal dichotomy is in the male and female elements or “king” and “queen” as it is in “Dance”, warmth and coldness, action and inertia, top and bottom – he fills his works with architypical symbols which signify the interaction of those two beginnings creating all numerous forms of being. Each artist is looking for one work of his life and for Andrey Efi it’s the creation of the world. Sprinkled with paint, the background symbolizes the initial chaos in which the earth , air, trees, stones,fish and the human being already exist but not in a realized condition. Then the colors are localized, geometrical forms are crystallized, directions emerge and separate elements can be seen and the universe is being born. And finally there is life. Colorful masses and geometrical bodies turn into living beings. The creation of the universe is not completed; it is constant, like the brush of the painter who is a participant of the creative act.
Alla Frank, art researcher (1998)
Describing Andrey Efi’s art is as difficult as it is simple. At first it seems as if his paintings are filled with elements that are not immediately understood, or “read,” as if closed to understanding intellectually. But look carefully at a picture several times and layers of meaning and narrative emerge. On the other hand, his paintings are easily understood visually. Looking at them evokes a profound emotional experience, delivered by light, pastel colors and multi-layered paint, intensified by the depth imparted by fabric, hair, stones and other materials.. It seems that the basic elements of the artist’s language are formed on the basis of an area created between the geometry of signs and literature. Out of a great variety of aesthetic and cultural systems (separated by time and space) the artist chooses the basic universal elements which he calls “Abstrogenes” and creates his new philosophically comprehended world. Andrey Efi’s art is a unique and bright phenomenon, and he is always moving forward, ahead of his contemporaries. Some art critics call his art intellectual art but the author himself calls it Sign art. Here is what Boris Asvarich, an art critic, said about Andrey Efi’s art: “The artist reduces the profound world of his painting to a Sign, the meaning of which is clear to him, and is to be revealed to his audience. Sometimes his images are evoked by memories of childhood and by spontaneous perception of life. More often they are the result of accumulated experience, but these signs are always connected to humanist values, comprehensive and close to all people.” “The sense of art for me”, explains the artist “is to bind together the revelations of such great masters of the past as Leonardo, Durer, El Greco – and the discoveries of the great reformers of the 20th century.” Andrey Efi began showing his work in 1988. His works were exhibited at more than 100 art events both in Russia and abroad. The audience’s opinion varies but his works leave no one indifferent. Efi’s paintings are held at the State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), and in private collections in Australia, the United States, Belgium, Canada, the UK, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and Sweden.