Annalisa Vobis

MFA, California College Of The Arts, San Francisco, California
B.A. in Sculpture, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California

Home Exhibitions   Archive Contact

For my installations the interrelation of organism in ecosystems serves as a starting point for scientific related research and experimentation. The experiments mimic destructive impacts like ocean acidification, pollution, greenhouse effect; the resulting project confronts with the strange beauty of environmental degradation.

I love the transformation of artificial materials into natural constructions that resist artificiality. The final work is drawn in the space between natural and artificial, the synthetic and the organic. The biomorphic –shaped projects explore the process oriented, metamorphic cycles that organisms undergo in endangered ecosystems.


Recent Artwork


(Projection 4' x 4')

Transcience mimics the transformation of convoluted algae systems into calcified phenomena using natural and artificial materials (installation at the Art Gallery of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada).



Solo Show Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 2012

In Filament wool is felted to mirror the formation of sulfuric algae mats. Every filament is a thinly spun thread, a chain-like series of cells. This multilayered mat intertwines, thus forming a structure that resembles wet wool. Sunlight initiates the never-ending process and photosynthesis produces layers of filamentous algae. When animals join this process they have a great chance of being preserved within the developing algae mat.



Studio Lab
Neues Leben
Endlos (9'x 9' x 10')
Second Nature (11' x 13' x 5')
  Mono (8' x 8')
Zerbrechlichkeit (10' x 6' x 3')
Phantom Gallery (total size: 75' x 30'), installations in main and side rooms, 2010

Cal-ci-fied is an ongoing investigation, a mixture of studio/lab and Natural Science Museum. The exhibit consists of six related environmental theme parts. Especially the impact of rising acid levels in the Oceans is explored. It begins with the presentation of Anneliese’s studio - lab space where research and experimentation melts together to reflect on personal experiences at the Bodega Marine Laboratory. The hanging algae installation Endlos (German for "endless") focuses on the endless variety of algae species. They are the inventors of the photosynthetic calcification processes. A slide projection in the darkened room brings the audience deep down to the bottom of the sea. There Radiolarian Ooze constantly forms new sedimentary rocks. The slide material focus on the calcification processes of Mono Lake. Stromatolite structures and the formations in Mono Lake inspired the ongoing large-scale knitting project Second Nature on the floor. The underlying concept is the reflection of coral bleaching – the result of rising acid levels in the sea. The wooden assemblages Neues Leben ("new life") references different recycling strategies. Zerbrechlichkeit ("fragility") is a illuminated floating paper installation that confronts us with an apocalyptic situation - the de-calcification of the shell animals in the future. The artworks are created as places for discussions and the search for future environmental solutions. Can we stop the rising of the acid levels in our oceans?


Radiolarian Ooze

108" x 72" x 80"; plastic foil; 2009

System of organisms inspired by Radiolarians. Radiolarians are marine planktonic protozoans which are characterized by transparent skeletons. They live in all depths of the oceans including sub-polar seas. When Radiolarians die, their glass shells sink to the bottom of the ocean into what is called the Radiolarian Ooze. It eventually forms sedimentary rock.

Radiolarian Ooze focuses on the decay of microorganisms that recycle themselves into sedimentary rock. In nature nothing is wasted. Everything is formed in a new gestalt. In contrast, systems of plastic consumerism result in apocalyptic man-made waste such as the Pacific Plastic Trash Island.


Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

I-Park Residency



96" x 180" x 72"; acrylic felt, plastic and foam; 2008

Biomimicry: from bios (life) and minesis, (to imitate). This science study investigates nature's best ideas and then copies their designs; resulting innovation inspired by nature. The work I am aiming for studies nature systems and processes. The landscape of marine habitats became a central topic in this project. Especially coral reefs are endangered because coral bleaching and other serious environmental stress can bring them to the point of extinction. Biomimicry is an utopian, artificial reef that reflects on the invasion of the bright green killer algae in the 1990s that devastated entire ecosystems in the Mediterranean sea. This fast-growing toxic seaweed finally dominated sea plant and marine animal communities. Heat transformed the soft felt material into crystallized plant formations. Artificial materials mimic evolutionary processes like melting, crystallization, transformation and growth.


Hybrid Organisms

13 objects each 8" x 13" x 5"; wool, 2007

The organisms I create are mixtures between botanical and zoological areas. The basis for the new organisms are gene parts of bacteria, plants and animals. Especially the forms and shapes of bacteria inform the surface design. The final gestalt of the hybrids is defined by animals like hamsters, elephants, or hedgehogs. These creatures move slowly through their environment. They move at sunny places and hide during bad weather in caves. They come together to create carpet-like groupings and their bodies are robust. They are constructions of prototype models of the active evolution. The dynamic movement allows these organisms to achieve more changes in a shorter time span. Today humankind has become an active part in the production of the new, and hybrid, species. We decide what type of creatures we want, therefore have to face responsibilities.