Annunziata Fiumi-Loosli creates epic worlds of clarity, beauty, playfulness, simplicity, logic, and openness. Annunziata’s dynamic works resonate with essential aesthetics and intellectual values. Her works are straightforward and legible. Yet, upon closer observation and consideration, even the works that initially appear direct and obvious reveal complex subtlety in their maker’s craft and decision-making. Certain formal shifts and feints in Annunziata’s vocabulary over the period of her career reveal the restlessness of this obsessive, agile artist, whose oeuvre extends far beyond sculpture, painting, and related modes of visual language.
Simone Cappa on Annunziata Fiumi-Loosli
Annunziata Fiumi-Loosli creates epic worlds of clarity, beauty, playfulness, simplicity, logic, and openness. Annunziata’s dynamic works resonate with essential aesthetics and intellectual values. Her works are straightforward and legible. Yet, upon closer observation and consideration, even the works that initially appear direct and obvious reveal complex subtlety in their maker’s craft and decision-making. Certain formal shifts and feints in Annunziata’s vocabulary over the period of her career reveal the restlessness of this obsessive, agile artist, whose oeuvre extends far beyond sculpture, painting, and related modes of visual language. As an artist-explorer, she is the embodiment of the child always asking questions. Informed by a career as an accomplished poet and artist, her extraordinary, theatrically conceived work offers a rich, convincing alternative experience for those disturbed by the self-indulgence, cynicism, and thinness of so much contemporary art. Annunziata harnesses and manipulates the reality of the natural environment in her work, using as a foundation startlingly vivid painterly narratives of landscape.
Born in Passignano sul Trasimeno, Italy, now based in Steffisburg near Bern, Switzerland, Annunziata creates work that highlights elemental subjects (primarily her surroundings), using dramatic ploys such as contrasts in style, shifts in focus, vivid brush strokes, staccato images, and layered surfaces. Sensory perception for Annunziata is a spiritual activity, one that leads to a heightened awareness of both nature and culture—this thought process points to a new kind of realism—one that is engaged with the actual processes of life. The result is a combination of classic archaeological/architectural vistas with layers of Impressionistic mark making. A diverse and curious artist Annunziata recently created a piece called Ariete, which highlights her interest in self-representation and abstraction. Such work highlights the diversity of Annunziata’s overture. In her abstract works Annunziata creates a story where layers are composed according to a working method the artist sees as being similar to the process of drawing in that you are looking at something and re-presenting it in as direct a way as you can. Her bravery as a painter has led her to also explore diluted Indian ink, pastels into oil, dried acrylic, wax, and many more combinations. Her use of watercolor produces a Zen-like sensibility in theme, style, and approach. The watercolor paintings, almost obsessive in their unyielding ability to translate an effortless grace, which produces not only a powerful sense of the passage of time, but a deeper understanding of the meaning of life. Through her simple yet decidedly sophisticated watercolors, she succeeds in apprehending a sense of spirituality, a communion with God or another higher being that one may experience in meditation. Much like the Tibetan monks who focus all of their attention on one mandala for extended periods of time, Annunziata draws a singular focus upon the image of the flower, the landscape in their entire detailed splendor.
In each of Annunziata’s working methods there is a balance between action and contemplation. Like dancers moving across a stage, her abstract brush strokes bound, leap, and plummet to and fro across her canvases, instilling a sense of liveliness and contained energy that is simultaneously stimulating and cerebral.
Most significant, however, is her inimitable understanding of color. Other works such as Fantasia and Effetto Surreali evoke a spiritual Zen quality in their restrained yet bold expressionist brush strokes. Removing all that is unnecessary, we are left with only the essential elements of painting: line, shape, and color. Colors are also paired with their opposites: red complemented by green and blue with orange. Through such color contrasts Annunziata is able to suggest a special narrative using color to define rather than merely complete the form.
In Movimento, for instance, the paintings are characterized not only by the layering of paint, but by a fluid brush dragged wet across the surface at great speed and outlined in intense aquamarines. This subtle image is one of a several exquisitely sensitive layered paintings that Annunziata has produced more recently. The delicately incised inky lines of this work, drawn over washes of color, evoke clouds of ambiguity. For her abstraction in nature is not amorphous or formless. The images are just fragments extracted from their figurative context. Annunziata is concerned with making the spectator aware of the connections between body and mind, contemplation and action, inner and outer reality dealing with themes of perception, memory, and self-knowledge. Annunziata uses line, not so much as a means of representation, but in a more abstract way, to express feelings and moods, retaining the notion that the artist’s role is to suggest, not define.
The sumptuous floral paintings of Annunziata represent a crossroads of East and West. Also drawing more contemporary references including Art Nouveau symbolism and modernist Abstraction, she employs a strongly stylized painting method that is characterized by layered shapes and elegant color. The artist’s flower paintings are distinguished by dynamic, undulating, and lyrical brush strokes combined with curved “whiplash” lines of syncopated rhythm. The striking two-dimensionality with which Annunziata surrounds her flowers evokes the composition found in much Impressionist art, a ground that, in its negation of space, may be regarded as negating time—and in so doing, creating a symbol of life and existence in the flower itself. In one work entitled Papaveri, the central arrangements’ crimson petals appear textured in a technique that evinces obvious similarities to anatomical draftsmanship. Simultaneously, her dewy buds are rounded and dimensional, attesting to an extraordinary decorative beauty. The artist treats the floral composition without shadow, and heightens the lush sensuality of plant by surrounding it with areas of translucent, highly ornamental, and brilliantly composed areas of light. Here birth, death, and the sensuality of life exist side by side, suspended in a state of eloquent equilibrium. Charismatic and forceful, Annunziata’s use of seductive color, vibrant brushwork, and sinuous line highlight the development of the artist’s sense of freedom and her unique style.
Similarly, her abstract paintings (such as Lo Stagno and Raggio di sole) have a visceral punch that obviates deconstructive analysis. In this series, Annunziata juxtaposes dramatically and poetically structured compositions in an attempt to heighten sensory experience for the viewer. In Giardino Annunziata shows the viewer her diversity and skill as an artist of many different styles, by exploring landscape painting in a more traditional manner—to capture a moment in time. In this body of work her palette has become increasingly vibrant. For example in the case of La torre del Trasimeno bright passages of color are vigorously applied in seemingly spontaneous brush strokes. However, in actuality Annunziata plans her compositions very deliberately according to formal principles. The work creates a type of visual sound through patches of lines and color—the work is made to listen to. These works are a sanctuary from the “horrors that our society has produced,” a visual breath for the art viewer who seeks more than shock value. The juxtaposition of the illusory and the manifestly tangible extends the range of our reading of the work time and again. The power that lies within Annunziata’s work is the fusion of such competing extremes as figuration and abstraction, illusionism and truth. The artist’s ultimate strength lies within this fluid movement between genres and categories. Caught between description and dreamlike states, and the observed and the imagined, Annunziata’s work transforms the natural world into poetic visions and fantasy, while still utilizing realistic elements to convey ideas and emphasize the freedom of art.