Brigette D’Annnibale

Originally from Los Angeles, Brigitte moved to the island of Kaua’i in 1993, after studying art in Santa Monica, California. She moved to the island to focus solely on her art, far away from the noise and glitz of LA. She moved into an old plantation home built in the 20’s that somehow managed to survive hurricane Iniki with only minor damage. This is where her love affair with Old Hawai’i blossomed. While distributing her time between painting and restoring the home, Brigitte’s work began to change. The home caught the attention of a local architect who hired Brigitte to help him bring the feeling of Old Hawai’i to a new project he was developing. The project was like a giant canvas for Brigitte and the project received much acclaim. Her vision was in high demand and proved to be rewarding on an artistic as well as pragmatic level.

The homes and projects were unmistakably her, and the walls were garnished with her original art. It is the best of both worlds, not only creating the art but actually making art out of the the places that would house her originals.

Brigitte has an incredible talent for seeing the potential of over looked or discarded things and spaces. She has and continues to support her art by making a living designing and transforming space. Her love for old things and the memories they symbolize combined with her sense of functionality and use of space, makes exciting a potentially mundane task. The years she has spent bringing old homes back to life and creating new homes with an old home’s soul have definitely influenced her art. Previously her work was primarily classical in regard to style but now has evolved into multi dimensional symbols and icons, loaded with associations, both personal and universal.

The remnants of the projects she has worked on, (Vintage fabric and tile to wood and materials salvaged from demolition, to curios collected by her through a variety of sources) get a new lease on life by being incorporated into her art. “I have collected scraps that now swim beneath the surface of these paintings.” “With glazes, layers, collage and paint, I play with depth, foreground and emotion.” Sometimes an image dominates the space, others recede like a whisper, quiet but insistent. The result of a contradictory collage like this is not a pastiche but an original, self contained creation is due to the intellectual caliber and design skills of its creator.

But this does not make it light fare. Brigitte uses familiar ingredients but combines them in a way which is constantly surprising. Terms such as Classicism and Romanticism, drama and prose, the festive and the mundane are stripped of the comfortable but sloppy clichés surrounding them and returned to their original essence, ennobled by a new, unrelenting stringency. Does this make Brigitte a Post-Modernist artist? Or is she not a modern artist in the new sense of the word demanded by the new circumstances of our times? But these categories themselves have also fallen victim to D’Annibale’s intellectual purges and in light of her actual works the questions become futile and redundant. The fact that this happens is what singles D’Annibale out as a truly great artist; because she refuses to be labeled, because she questions the very principle of labeling, because she forces us to rethink traditional categories of art even those we have created ourselves. And above all because she teaches us to look at art, all art not just hers with new eyes which may have lost their star dust but are certainly better focused.