Carrie Ann Baade, an internationally recognized painter and art professor at Florida State University whose art “return(s) to the haunting moments in art history to reclaim them for our contemporary sensibilities,” has a show in Tallahassee at the Venvi Art Gallery.
“Carrie Ann Baade is a visionary artist,” author Ann VanderMeer has said of her work. “She is ferocious in her approach, not thinking about the casual observer but solely considering the resounding strength of the work before her.”
Baade has studied at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, where she received her BFA, the University of Delaware, where she received her MFA and the Florence Academy of Art in Italy.
Baade’s upcoming show is called “Twilight Sleep,” named for the form of childbirth that was used in the 20th and 21st centuries, and a concept in which Baade has a personal connection to as well.
“It sounds pretty… but Twilight Sleep was considered a panacea for women. It was a solution to childbirth anesthesia that… was utilized in Europe… it was this idea that they were going to relieve women of the pain of childbirth but it didn’t quite work like that,” she said. “It worked like you were anesthetized but you actually were experiencing all the pain, you just didn’t remember it.”
Baade continued to explain that while “Twilight Sleep” mostly went away in the 1960s in America, she was born in 1974, and her mother was one of the last women to be given “Twilight Sleep.”
“Within this body of work are themes of female aberrations, the irreconcilable, the struggle of becoming conscious and the goddess being drowned,” Baade said. “The concepts behind this new work are informed by a lack of women’s voices in the past and their lack of agency. I could never understand why my mother would not or could not speak of my birth.”
Her mother eventually told her that she simply did not remember her birth, and was one of the last women to be given “Twilight Sleep.” Baade relates the use of “Twilight Sleep” with the “sleep of female genius during patriarchy.”
She continued to explain, “When men ruled the world and the home, women were repressed and their inability to have agency was incapacitating, some to the point of madness.”
Baade’s shows often occur around Halloween, which is a holiday she describes as “a time of dark art… we look at monstrosities.” She explained that “monstrum” means an omen or sign, coming from the root of “monere,” which means to warn.
“By painting monsters, these become a warning,” she said.
She described her work as “cathartic and dark,” explaining that with the paintings in this gallery she is “comparing the anesthesia of women to the rise of the patriarchy… one of the greatest horrors is women losing their intelligence, their genius, their agency and (being) unable to fulfill their creative destiny.”
Baade says that while not all of the work in the gallery is similar to this, a good portion of it is.
Baade’s show “Twilight Sleep,” which includes 27 paintings, will be on display from Nov. 6, 2021 through Jan. 9, 2022 at the Venvi Art Gallery in Tallahassee, Florida. The show opening will be on Nov. 6 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Baade will also show at Tallahassee Community College in 2023.