The artists Laura Bidwell, Kristen Cliffel, Meng-Hsuan Wu, Claudio Orso, Arabella Proffer, Dante Rodriguez, Omid Tavakoli, and Antwoine Washington exhibiting in Fabulism: Meta fact and fictions, offer diverse outcomes of exploration for our own escape to dreamscapes, future worlds, revisionist fairy tales and heightened details of new realities.
Fabulism is a form of magic realism in which fantastical elements are placed into an everyday setting. As a reaction against the demands of mainstream verisimilar fiction, writers of “fabulism” or “magical realism” have sought to reinvent or reinvigorate or reconceive traditional realism by infusing it with the characteristics of older forms such as the fable (hence the name), the tale, the legend, the myth, as well as allegory and parable. All the artists in Fabulism: Meta Facts and Fictions share an existential questioning of reality in these surreal times where fact and fiction are intentionally confused to gain political advantage, for example. These artist offer a thought provoking response to how we consider truth and reality in these troubling times.
The Magical Realist painter, Henri Rousseau completed more than twenty-five jungle paintings in his career after never stepped out of France. Even with no direct experience to a jungle, he created one through his vast knowledge of literature, colonial expositions, and visits to the Paris Zoo. The lush jungle and the wild animals featured in his painting, The Dream, were inspired by Rousseau's visits to the city's natural history museum.
Fabulism speaks to things that appear real, but are simply not possible in reality. Art as an escape room resonates with these times more than ever, in an age where false news and the blurred lines of fact and fiction. And because of these things, Fabulism leans towards the exotic, the historical, the once-upon-a-time, and the hard-to-believe. There is horror and wonder, but it’s once upon a time.