lunedì 23 marzo 2009
CARRIE ANN BAADE
Your CV is very rich, you were nominated for the prestigious United States Artist Fellowship in 2007, your work is featured in Metamorphosis, a survey of top contemporary Surrealists and in 2005 you received a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship granted through the Delaware Division of the Arts and B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago plus your Masters in Painting from the University of Delaware. What are your plans for 2009?
It is a strange year to have a solo show. I am painting away for a show at Billy Shire Fine Art, a wonderful gallery in Los Angeles California that features the works of Elizabeth McGrath and Chris Mars among others. It is a dream come true during an economy full of nightmares. As an artist, I am trying not to take the economy personally. However, I am extremely fortunate have job as a professor of painting at Florida State University. Coming up in 2010, I have solo shows at Rosenfeld Gallery in Philadelphia and at Paul Booth’s Gallery in New York City and the sincere hope that the economy pull out of it’s nose dive.
Your paintings are divided into five different series, each one with its own theme but all populated by monsters and myths. You seem to have a passion for literature and history. How much are they connected to your artworks?
When I was a little girl, I had a book on the paintings at the Louvre. In this book, all the paintings were in oil. I told my mother I did not want to take the classes offered to children for learning how to paint because I had looked at every painting in the book and NONE of the old masters painted in acrylic and so neither was I. My whole life I have comfortably taken my innermost thoughts and used symbolism and fantasy to obscure them. Talking outloud through my art while being silent. Myths and monsters are commonly used to build intrigue around tales of morality and the human condition. I see myself as a story teller, telling my own tale while keeping alive the stories that are age old. Cliché’s are so powerfully not unique yet speak to us all. I love finding tales of love and sorrow which I have interpreted many ways but I am currently painting “Lady Or Tiger” based on a fable by this same name about an ill fated lover and another called,
“The Honey Queen” which uses themes of Catholic Madonna Dolorosa but is actually about my own ill fated relationship with a sociopath whom no matter how much “honey” I lavished on him he would always be dead inside. No amount of my tremendous love could fill the void that was within him. I also come up with entirely new chimeras of my own invention to satisfy my needs. I have a new character I call Libida (since Libido must be male) she has a bird body and a mosterous head with no eyes and giant lipsticked lips. She destroys frogs…the frogs that represent all the men that are not princes. So I have another new painting called, “ The Frog Eater.”
There’ s a “fil rouge” in your works, about the use of pictorial fragments. With scissors in hand, you create a composition that looks like a collage. Some belong to photographs of yourself while others to cut up illustrations from art history. What does it reflect these fractures?
Collage is said to be one of the inventions of the 20th century. It reflects an age of mass reproduced images that could be cut up and pasted together. By living in a post modern era, we are inundated with images and imagery. In my fragmenting whole elements and recombining them into a new whole, I seek to make sense of loss we live in. There is no going back to a wholeness is society that is so chaotic and changing. It gives me great pleasure to cut up the established past, art history’s past, and destroy it, manipulate it, until I make up something that makes me laugh or shocked. It is so intimidating to feel like there is nothing new under the sun and that perhaps everything of lasting worth and quality is over and done with. At that moment, I realize I am taking it all far too seriously and I must play. Cut it all up and just play. Yet, I am hopelessly committed to oil paint, so then I take those collages and slavishly paint them to look like the
collage with a bit of trompe l’oeil. It is the only way I could take myself seriously as an artist.
Let’ s focused on your single artworks series: INTEMPERANCE is the first issue with all that includes the extremes. I suppose that this is a very important topic for you. It deals with your dark thoughts, something hidden into your personal existence. Are these paintings a way to exorcize your gloomy experiences?
I am a cathartic painter. Over the summer, I was going to yoga class everyday. It was such a pleasure to hang out with these young American yogis on their path and hear about their experiences studying in India. One of these woman had recently returned from a trip and she told me about her first day studying yoga abroad in her search for enlightenment. All the new arrivals sat meditating in a room waiting for their famous guru to arrive and lead them. When he entered, he announced, “By the end of this week, you will all be serial killers.” His point of saying this is that in our search to be enlightened, so few of us are entirely ourselves. We spend much of our energy subverting portions of ourselves that we fear or dislike. What if we were integrated and had all the power and potential within us? I am not saying that if I quit painting that I might become a serial killer, but I certainly am able to manage the darker parts of myself through my work.
I make paintings to commemorate my mistakes and understand my emotions that have no place to be vented in polite society. I just find it so comforting and strange that the more honest I am, the more others believe and indentify with the work.
VIRTUES AND VICES series, is inspired by medieval techniques of the icon painters. There’ s always a research behind your works. How does your work go on, step by step?
Oh, I fear that could be boring to type out this process in detail, however, I start with vision. A flash from the muse! I grab the closest scrap of paper around me and let out this strange little scribble, of say…I grinning mad woman in a ball gown with a giant cod piece. Then, I giggle. For the next two years, I collect images from art books, National Geographic and fashion magazines of images of pearls and diamonds and I squirrel these away until one day I break them all out and rudely affix them on to an old art poster arranged around a photo of one of my students. From there, I use a clay panel and do a tedious ink drawing based on the completed collage. This is sealed with an imprematura, then lead white is used to build of the highlights. Earth tones push back the shadows. Then I paint the whole painting in dead coloring with a restricted palette of earth tones, working towards developing details and enriching color with glazing. I tell the
painting it is the most wonderful thing in the whole world and that it is precious to me above all other paintings I have every painted. All told the painting is painted about 3 times, then the details are embellished. It’s then varished, framed, shipped, and hanged…never to be heard from again.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS. This is the title of the series composed by six drawings inspired by “marginalia”, a term that stands for the drawings and flourishes in medieval illuminated manuscripts. So here again a look to the past and a private reinterpretation made by you. Where did you find the input?
Um…the doodling is entirely out of my head. I would caution most folks not to enter my head without protection. It’s can be a dangerous place. The over all theme is based on women, snakes, and the moon. This was a riddle that I stumbled upon while studying in Florence and looking at Estrucan art. I was struck by the relationship between these three so magical and powerful images. In the end, it was less esoteric and more terrestrial a relationship. Women shed, the moon sheds, and snakes shed. We all renew ourselves. Our ever intrinsically changing nature leads us to not be trusted by men…and manifest fear that we are partially monsters. Also I have an old grief with the old masters for making the snake in the temptation story part female. How come Eve has to be the one who deceived Adam and then the snake is ALSO portrayed as part female. It seems like we got off on the wrong foot with men from THE VERY BEGINNING.
Before coming up to the two last series i was wondering about the choice of the colors in your paintings. There’ s a lot of blue and red. Any reasons?
No. : )
It’ s curious the way you found the name for the WANTED: NIGHT GARDENER series. How did it happen and what’ s your favorite work among these?
I was sitting at a coffee shop and my boyfriend was looking for a job. The ad said Wanted: Night Gardener. It was literally a job for someone and water the flowers at night. I am an insomniac and feel most comfortable being alone while everyone else is asleep so that I can have the world to myself without distractions. I felt a most kindred sensation with the person who would water plants at night. It seemed similar to the nuturing I lavish on my painted surfaces. My favorite was the “The Insomniac.” I like the idea that if I laid down the eye mask would hover in front of me. I repeated the eye mask to suggest all the sleepless time I have spent where I felt as though I was locked out of dreaming and could not get back in. It was an interesting time in my life when my paintings had so many secrets that they were just screaming…I think this is the only painting where my whole face is present…so far.
THE SECRET LIVES OF PORTRAITS includes portraits of many bizarre individuals. Still an on going series, till 2005. Do you think that your paintings have a their own life?
My paintings do have a life of their own. They get purchased and become weird little voyeurs in stranger’s houses. They could get put in garage sales, squabbled over by divorcees, and destroyed in fire. I feel a bit like the mother turtle that laid so many eggs to watch them hatch and her young eaten before they get out to the water. It is my hope that my paintings out live me, that they live life long after I am gone and enjoy watching their masters grow up, grow old, and manifest into a new households. Of course, I would much prefer that they could move about like J. K. Rowlings paintings in Harry Potter. It must be awfully confining to be stuck in just one image forever.
I would love to remind to our readers your web site http://www.carrieannbaade.com/ with news and everything about your work in progress, exhibitions and so on. Before leaving you I just want you to tell me an anecdote.
So sorry I am fresh out ;)
Thanks so much for this opportunity Daniela!