Annalisa Vobis

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

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I was born in an ancient forest house in the Odenwald region of Germany. A natural spring lay hidden beneath the basement. The waters rupturing forth from beneath our cellar were my earliest fascination with nature. All the mysterious and strange bubbling noises of these lively waters are featured predominantly in all my early childhood memories. The beautiful forest, with its different patterns, textures, and creatures, has been the greatest source of inspiration for my adult artwork.

For my installations the interrelation of organism in ecosystems serves me as a starting point for researching science and experimenting with natural resources. I also love the transformation of recycled man-made materials into natural shapes that resist artificiality. The final artwork is drawn in a space between natural and artificial, bridging the synthetic and the organic. In particular, I observe the process of change that my projects undergo: ordinary at first and specimen-like when given a second look. In many cases it is the process of transformation, i.e., unearthing the mysterious beneath the plain, which keeps me searching deeper for new results. For example, my artwork reflects natural processes like melting and crystallization of inorganic matters as well as growth, decay and fossilization of organisms.


Recent Artwork

cryptos - the living skin of the desert

Artist residency in
Zion National Park

Raw sheep wool

Crypto 1
(felted wool)

Crypto 1

Crypto 2
(outdoor project)

Crypto biotic soil crusts are the first land-based symbiosis of algae, moss, fungi and lichen. The algae weaves tiny filamentous threads into mats. This fiber web weaves through soil and prevents erosion. The crypto biotic crust is an indicator of ecological health in arid landscapes and very fragile. It can take 20 to 250 years to recover from footstep damage.


pH 8.1 - denatured conditions

second nature

laceum eucarya

ostrea gigas

(recycled paper)

pH 8.1 –denatured conditions focus on the environmental consequences of too much carbon dioxide and other emissions in oceans. The resulting acidification has been reducing the pH value of the ocean to its current value of 8,1. Scientists predict that it will drop below 7,8 at the end of this century. The current losers to this situation are calcified marine life such as corals and shell fish – while macro algae, sponges, etc., thrive because of this change.



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.



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.