Non-realist fiction comes under many different labels: magic realism, surrealism, fantasy, urban fantasy, new wave fabulism, the new weird, mythic fiction, etc. (Not to mention all the derivations of cyberpunk, such as steampunk, elfpunk, mannerpunk, and mythpunk fiction.)
Likewise, non-realist art comes under many different labels: magic realism, surrealism, fantasy art, mythic art, gothica, fabulism, etc. The magical paintings of Carrie Ann Baade, for example, have been dubbed "imaginative realism," described as "cut from the pages of art history and layered into a trompe l'oeil surrealism."
Baade was raised in New Oreleans, with its colorful mix of cultures, and Colorado, with its majestic landscapes. She received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1997 and a Masters in Painting from the University of Delaware in 2003. She has held adjunct teaching positions at Washington College, the University of Delaware, Cecil County Community College, and Delaware College of Art and Design. She currently paints full-time in Philadelphia, and is also on the faculty of the University of Delaware. Her art has been exhibited across the U.S. and abroad.
In an interview on the Phantasmaphile website, Baade was asked about the particular symbolism of eyes in her work. "My great-grandmother was a doll-maker," Baade explains. "I grew up with many unusual dolls....One day when I was about four, all their little staring eyes became too much and when next my mother entered my room, all of the dolls were turned around facing the wall. Eyes are intense, creepy in their ability to communicate so much of the internal world while simultaneously taking in all that they observe. The treatment that almost every character in my paintings receives is a new set of eyes. The eyes share a role in attribute, symbol, disguise, and the telling of a story through a story. The eye takes the outside world into the inner, and can also project the inner world onto the outer."
Writing about the inspiration behind her work, she says: "I have read a bit and taught art history, so I have a fair knowledge of mythology, religious symbolism, stories of creation; so I am trying to tell my own story through old stories and hybrid them into a new one....I hope my work is a record of my experience but simultaneously speaks to others about their individual human condition. There are so many powerful things that happen that we can not speak of politely."
The paintings above are: Melancholia With Demons, The Red Queen, The Frog Prince, and The Involuntary Thoughts of Lady Caroline. To see more of Carrie Ann Baade's paintings, visit her website.