Luisa Jacobacci, Donna di Fumo, Courtesy of the artist.
There are pioneers and visionaries who have toed the line between painting and sculpture including Rauschenberg and Julian Schnabel. Having had a recent group show at Broadway Gallery, NYC we might add Luisa Jacobacci to the list. Luisa Jacobacci is an artist whose work engages the viewer in wonderment at the world. She employs a childlike vision to express a range of emotions. Her approach is eclectic, wild and brash. And her techniques are shocking – impasto is heavily applied to create significant protruding textures that lend physicality to her work. Her motifs border on the surreal—featuring bold colors, fluorescent paint, funky shapes and materials.
One of her most exciting works is La Raffineria e I Suoi Fumi. Here Jacobacci constructs a smoke filled cityscape of soft pinks, grays and black. The disastrous setting is contrasted by the playful use of textured, billowing clouds that veer toward abstraction. Here, she eggs the viewer to consider environmental catastrophe and whimsy in the same breath.
Other works are more frontal yet more innocent. Her piece Donna di Fumo captures a smoking girl in silhouetted, textured blue lines. Her face is left near white save for the black outlines of her eyes and her bright, ruby red lips. Her expression is dazed and fanciful as she glares upward, away from the viewer, slowly puffing away at her cigarette or joint. Her hair flares up in vine-like curls against a streaky blue wash. It is a work that captures the attitude and sentiment of the sitter in an incredibly telling manner.
Jacobacci’s paintings bear a relationship to hypertexture. Her innovative approach to materiality is a bold affirmation of the visceral nature of experience. Philosophically, hypertexture aims to simulate the physical nature of lived existence by way of formal devices. Lee Klein states that hypertexture as a painterly concept is “an emergent theoretic of tactility whereby visual art of the physical realm responds to the virtual by out-morphing and or equaling the variations of digitally via texture; pigment and mediated shifts.” Jacobacci’s use of texture is tantamount to a re-envisioning of the world. This re-envisioning is analogous to the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty who famously stated that “we are nothing but a view of the world.”
Luisa Jacobacci, La Raffineria e I Suoi Fumi, Courtesy of the artist.
Other works like L’uomo che Scende le Scale are minimal in color yet deceivingly complex. Against a white background, Jacobacci painted an impastoed black staircase that bisects the canvas from the upper left hand corner. A man in black silhouette appears to float along the stairs. This work is highly poignant, and playful as it suggests an impossible, metaphysical event. Jacobacci states that her impasto use also serves another purpose.
Luisa Jacobacci: I use a lot of impasto to give strength to my paintings, in order to remove all doubt. My art reveals one very precise and well-defined point of view: it’s my astonishment and my naivety on seeing the world in general and everyday life in particular. Using a lot of impasto allows me to reach fullness. My style is childish because when I paint, I return back to see the world as if for the first time.
Luisa Jacobacci, L’Uomo che scende le scale, Courtesy of the artist.
PG: What message do you want your work to convey?
LJ: I take inspiration from everyday life and I interpret it. At the beginning of my artistic career, I was much more realistic. Over the years, I became a surrealist. I like to play with extreme, give shape to the paradoxes, but, above all, I love to provoke the spectator and amuse him. My art is a game, because life is a game and we should all take ourselves less seriously!
Luisa Jacobacci uses formal devices such as hypertexure to create distinctions and contrast urging the viewer to examine illusion and reality. In the process her work reframes the everyday to open up new worlds and dimensions in a fascinating manner.