BIOGRAPHY, PRESS ARTICLES, REVIEWS
The painting is for me a concrete way to qualify the space.I paint with pastels, oil, acrylic colours, drawing pastel and mixed techniques.I was born in Castel di Lucio, an ancient Norman town in the Nebrodi Mountains of Sicily where I spent my early childhood. I studied foreign languages and cultures in Florence, Milan(Italy), Stamford (England) and Zurich (Switzerland). In the first time I pursued a career in the tourism sector and subsequently in the trading sector as export manager, promoting Made in Italy products in European and non European countries. Alongside my professional career, I have cultivated, since a long time, a passion and an adventure for the art and the painting. I have attended numerous drawing and painting classes in Florence. After studying drawing with sculptress, Mary Ann Lucchetti, I began, officially, my artistic career in the 90s. For the painting I am completely self-taught. I have taken part in numerous national and international painting competitions, with numerous awards and mentions by the critics and press, and have also exhibited in various group and one-man shows.I live in Montespertoli in the province of Florence in Tuscany and partially in Sicily in my parent´s home.My art-works are present both in private and public collections in Italy and abroad. Here, follows my art curriculum.2012
The images in Anna Napoli paintings, detached as they are from a realistic context, do not have a narrative role, but rather, like frames emerging from the memory of time, they open up the scenario of remembrance packed with all its emotional content.
This is Daniela Pronesti and Filippo Lotti opinion of the work of painter Anna Napoli, and they also add that the colours, at times bright and vibrant, at times hazy and seeped in light are the instrument used by the artist to restore to the viewer the feelings stemming from a recollection of the past or from observing nature.
And while her childhood memories are linked to the tenderness of faces and places that accompanied her games as a little girl, her nature-studies ignite a creative spirit that guides her towards the elaboration of an expressionist language characterised by a vigorous and well-moulded essentiality.
Anna Napoli was born in Castel di Lucio, an ancient Norman town in the Nebrodi mountains of Sicily where she spent her early childhood. She studied foreign languages and cultures in Florence, Milano, Stamford (Lincolnshire) and Zurich, at the same time cultivating a passion for artistic expression, especially drawing, pastels and acrylics. She also attended numerous drawing and painting classes. After studying drawing with sculptress, Mary Ann Lucchetti, she began her artistic career in the 90s. She has taken part in national and international painting competitions, with numerous awards and mentions by the critics, and has also exhibited in various group and one-man shows, the most recent of which was held in the Limonaia of Villa Voegel in Florence, organised by Dr. Gaetano Lenti in collaboration with the Florence City Council.
Anna lives in Montespertoli in the province of Florence but due to her job related to her extensive knowledge of foreign languages and cultures, she travels constantly to European and non-European countries. However, as a result of her continual absence she is able to relive her land and her roots through her art.
Her artistic project seems to play in complete freedom in an authentic gym of emotions that masterfully express themselves through a rich poetry of magic and mystery", writes Alessandra Bruscagli on describing her work.
Anna Napoli was born in Castel di Lucio, an ancient Norman town on the Nebrodi in Sicily where she spent her early childhood.
After studying foreign languages and culture in Florence, Milan, Stamford Lincolnshire (GB) and Zurich (CH), she pursued a career in the tourism sector and subsequently in the trading sector where she still works, promoting Italian products in European and non European countries. Alongside her professional career, Anna cultivates a passion for art, particularly for the drawing, pastel, acrylic and oil painting. Her long experience allows her to express herself in different subjects.
She takes part in collective exhibitions and organizes personal exhibitions both in Italy and abroad.
She lives in Montespertoli, close to Florence, Tuscany, Italy.
2008 - THISTLES - "LA STAGIONE DEI CARDI" by Dott Gaetano Lenti
The more I looked at them the more I felt compelled to look at them" Anna Napoli told
me as she was describing the first time she saw the thistles in her native Sicily.
There is a sunny summer in these paintings and also an association of climates, of atmospheres where the colours-thistles stand out and shade off.
Shapes diluted by the hot sun and dissolved by the thick mist.
The beauty one would like to hold on to, to perpetuate the enjoyment of its contemplation but which is so unavoidably ephemeral, is transformed by the artist in a highly incisive pictorial language.
In it, other memories converge to create new playful inventions.
Thus the pearl grey of mists typical of northern countries becomes the background of the thistles seen during that summer journey to sun-dried Sicily. Here, among the rows of olive trees - solemn, secular monuments, so very human in their anthropomorphic camouflage - Anna Napoli revels in the discovery of purple tufts spilling out of goblets to which artistic invention gives a thousand different shapes and colours.
Anna Napoli captures their lightness and, at the same time, the thorny impertinence of the leaves.
Thus it is reality that becomes the instrument of art, not art the instrument of reality.
In these paintings there is no longer any trace of the uncertainty of research towards the maturation of a style. Her style is already very definite, its character residing in the incisiveness of the stroke and in the joyous chromatic levity.
2008 WHO IS ANNA NAPOLI by Prof Antonio Satta
I have known Anna Napoli for over 30 years. Originally from Sicily, I met her through a very good friend of mine. I was immediately struck by her sunny personality, she was communicative, an extrovert, a pleasant and intriguing conversationalist, the expression in her doe-like eyes could be sweet and gentle but also restless and scrutinizing.
A friendship started.
It is difficult for me to say who Anna is. Save for a brief period of time during which we worked together, our meetings have been few and far between. I can only try to describe a specific characteristic of her personality which I think is revealing of her deepest nature.
This radiant girl who put all her insular stubbornness and determination into creating a profession for herself and pursuing an original and relentless activity that lead her to meet people from all over the world and from all walks of life, managed to surprise me every time we met. Although she appeared to me as successful, as having achieved her goals, she was always intent on improving herself by reading, studying, learning from others, analysing, as if something inside her propelled her towards new challenges with a feeling that, what appeared to me as comfortable certainty, was in fact to her an unstable, uncertain, temporary platform.
I still remember our long conversations before a rich salad and a good glass of red wine. She expressed a continuous desire to analyse and improve herself, a natural need to seek answers, an innate inclination towards introspection and the understanding of others, the problems of life, of being and of reality.
The study of mythology, of religions, of the extra-sensorial, of astrology, of alternative medicine and of biological nourishment, the research, the need to seek the guidance of those she felt she could learn from, were, in her view, the only alternative to an inner rambling, an effort towards the acquisition of new techniques and skills through new means of expression were for her far more than a temporary interest but rather the reflection of a continuous research, of a need to attain a more gratifying, more deeply rooted inner balance.
Even during bitter and hostile times when she appeared to be collapsing, she would climb back up when you least expected her to, as if she had allowed herself to fall only to find a solid substrate on which to bounce back with newly found energy and creativity. I always wonder where she finds such vitality, how she succeeds in creating these multiple images of herself. I can only attempt to give an explanation: her vision of the world. To Anna there is no fracture between the physical world and existence, between natural reality and psychic reality. On the contrary, to her they are deeply connected, they are the two faces of the same medal: a holistic world able to show us the past, the present and the future and where any distinction between animate and inanimate is inadequate. Every "thing" encloses life, a universe: it is the entire universe.
Anna has long been seeking traces. In her passion for painting which she has been cultivating with relentless enthusiasm for a long time, in the lines and shapes, even in apparently insignificant things, in the colour shades and tones I can see the research of those traces that render the objective subjective, that transform the physical into psychic.
2010 Orme e VisionI" by Dott Gaetano Lenti
It can happen that at a certain point in your life, despite being burdened by work and family, despite having strong friendships or being taken up by various passions and hobbies which occupy your time, you feel an impelling need to look back or, one might rather say, feel an irresistible attraction to your own past.
In that past which might be childhood or pre-adolescence there are images, emotions, memories.
And these visions, memories, emotions, tracks, act within you, haunting you like an obsession and stimulating you to new spiritual adventures thereby becoming sources of inspiration for a new creative slant.
This is what has happened to Anna Napoli.
Napoli feels the melancholic, restless, frenetic need to return to that realm of childhood to relive and rediscover what it consisted of, to rediscover her roots, the places where she still felt she belonged.
This gave rise to new visions, new dreams enlivened by passion and a demanding creative emotion.
These cardoons, Saracen olives, these landscapes, faces, these houses make up the exhibition.
Looking back, the artist finds herself retracing her steps, identifying signs, feeling herself lighter in that matter used to transmit a new artistic image.
"Pastels have enabled me to lend expression to the subject in a more agile, faster, more luminous, fresh manner, linked more to the emotive nature of the thing than the material reproduction of the object. This at first glance and above all in the cardoons and Saracen olives".
Subsequently the artist moved on to acrylics, giving her the chance to formulate new transparencies of colour, creating the matter of the object through various layers of pigment, enabling her to achieve vibrant effects; thus from the almost nebulous mark of the pastel to the incisive stroke, almost scoring the object. This method is dictated to Napoli by the linearity needed by that particular landscape or object, which appears to her impregnated with light but also solid and powerfully consistent.
In this itinerary Anna Napoli has re-appropriated the soul of her homeland, which she had left in her early adolescence, through the object.
This re-appropriation occurs simultaneously with a holistic, cultural arrival of the senses and through literary and intellectual stimuli.
The result is that the imprinting of pre-adolescent experience is transformed into a new pictorial language which inevitably takes into account the cultural structures and superstructures which she has acquired over the years.
"However" says Napoli:" Despite this structural background acquired over the years, returning to the places of my childhood, the emotions and impressions were so strong that I felt ineluctably obliged to express them".
We can see therefore how that reality of her native Sicily combined with this emotive force is transmuted into the artist´s imagination, into a new discovery of the things obliging her to undertake unusual pictorial paths.
These are the works-visions which can be admired in the exhibition through a window which has suddenly opened onto that world which I had already experienced but not yet seen".
2010 November Review by the art critic Daniela Pronestì of the SOLO exhibition "Orme e Visioni"
In Anna Napoli´s paintings the world is an alphabet of first images which dissolve in time to be born again in pictorial space with all the essence of their beauty.
Recollections, which sweep the dust off memory, do not however necessarily have the guise of melancholy or regret but are a cutting of life pulled through the depth of a colour, the other side of the wave making the past clear and showing a clear horizon, a finally serene panorama.
It is to colour above all that Napoli entrusts the structural definition of her figures and, in particular, their luminous structure and expressive intensity.
In the pastels, her palette of colours adds bright vibrant shades transfiguring the subject depicted in pure chromatic harmony: cardoon flowers in stellar shapes and interwoven lines, olive trees like men indelibly tried by the passage of time.
In the series of acrylics dedicated to the Mediterranean theme, the range of colours lightens, and the tones, attenuated by the light and shade, define the surfaces, make the surroundings stand out, accentuate the volumes.
The impastos reduce in thickness, the colours merge into one another and the painting becomes intense and harmonious.
In these paintings men acquire the same moral strength as the rock, while the figure of a woman, bent by time and fatigue, seems to show the observer how important it is in life to stay true to one´s dignity.
The landscape too is an intense, never obvious presence imbued with meaning: the sea views and red cupola of an ancient cathedral seem to emerge from the canvas as if roused from a dream and returned to the present without losing anything of their emotional value.
But the space which the artist locates them in is not real, measurable, logic but rather inner, unlimited, timeless.
In one ´s memory the edges blur, the details are lost, the shapes merge but what remains , really is the essence of things, the reasons which inspired them, the moments of life they are connected with, the instants of pure joy accompanying them.
2010 November Review by the art critic Daniela Pronestì and Filippo Lotti of the SOLO exhibition "Orme e Visioni"
In Anna Napoli´s paintings the images, separated from a realistic context, do not have a narrative function but like photograms re-emerging from the dawn of time open the scenario of memory with all its emotive content.
The colours, sometimes bright and vibrant, sometimes sfumato and brimming with light, are the artist´s instrument for arousing in the observer the emotion deriving from a re-evocation of the past and the observation of nature.
And while the memory of childhood is associated with the gentle faces and places accompanying her childhood games, the study of nature awakens her creative spirit and directs it towards the development of an expressionist language characterized by a vigorous and plastic essence.
2011 April, by journalist and writer, Alessandra Bruscagli at the one-man show "Orme e Visioni" at the Gran Caffé of Sesto Fiorentino (Florence)
During the month of April, the Gran Caffè is proposing another important one-man exhibition entitled "Orme e Visioni" by painter, Anna Napoli who lives and works in Montespertoli. In order to better understand her artistic language, it must be pointed out that Anna Napoli was born in Castel di Lucio, an ancient Norman town in the Nebrodi mountains of Sicily where she spent her early childhood. She later studied in Florence, Milan, Zurich, and England, and was a student of sculptress Mary Ann Lucchetti. However the period spent in Sicily has remained deep in her soul: the changing colours of the sea, the fecund, luxuriant nature, the architectural details etched in the memory of her heart, and the Mediterranean environments with their unmistakable perfumes, are all an integral part of her sensitive spirit and Anna Napoli could not but put down on canvas all these sensations experienced during the golden age of her childhood, emotions belonging to the strong roots binding her to her land of origin. This has given rise to exceptional works suffused with evocative impressions, the result of an accurate if somewhat unusual search that has inspired her to create misty, fascinating backgrounds, hinted-at haloes from which the desired image seems to emerge, almost like a mysterious curtain that is drawn open to reveal a magical, fairytale world, that enchanted world that we can only discover in early childhood. Let´s take for example, the door that illustrates this article: a closed door is usually a sign of absence, detachment, but not in this case. Upon observing the door we have the urge to cautiously open it, perhaps with a creaking of the wood which is not however frightening, but rather inviting, and now we can´t wait to sneak in and discover the hidden wonders concealed inside.
2011 July-August by journalist and writer, Alessandra Bruscagli at the one-man show "Orme e Visioni" (Footprints and visions) at the Banca Credito Cooperativo of Cambiano at Montelupo Fiorentino (Florence)
The opening of Anna Napoli´s one-man show of paintings, "Orme e Visioni", will take place at 11 am on Saturday 9 July, at the Gallery of the Montelupo Fiorentino branch of the Banca di Credito Cooperativo of Cambiano. An excellent choice of the eight large works that this artist is displaying at her most recent exhibition, in the sense that they are all paintings that manage to "recount" in the best possible manner, not only her expressive language, but also her artistic ´project´ that seems to ´play´ in complete freedom in an authentic gym of emotions that masterfully express themselves through a rich poetry of magic and mystery. A striking example of this is the picture entitled "Cupole rosse" (red domes) that resembles a fairytale landscape emerging from the memory of a "child-artist" who has kept her sensations of wonder and amazement intact. It´s easy to see how strong Anna´s bonds with her land are, understood as her motherland. They tell us of large tree trunks showing the signs of the years and the pain of living, but also the vivacity and harmony of the flowers in "Anatomia celeste" (Heavenly anatomy), "Essenze arancio" (Orange essence) and "Mattino d´estate" (Summer morning), from which her great inner sensitivity and enormous love emerge, a precious spark that reverberates all the lights of the heart and the colours that manage to reproduce the immeasurable value of the primordial values that belong to all of us. "Orme e Visioni" will remain open for the month of July and can be visited during the opening hours of the bank.
2012 ATMOSFERE MEDITERRANEE by Alessandra Bruscagli
The exhibition "MEDITERRANEAN ATMOSPHERES " is devoted to the Sicilian artist Anna Napoli and is organized by the ITALIAN INSTITUTE OF CULTURE in Brussels, inaugurated on 7th February and continuing until 29th February 2012. Rue de Livourne 38, 1000 Brussels.
The characteristics, the peculiarities, the fragrances, the colours of her native land, together with the sound of dialect words and of the simplicity of everyday life have never been regarded by Anna Napoli as merely an exterior decorative element but rather, as do most people, as a framework, a support, a mental and sensorial armour within which all the experienced perceptions and impressions have found a place. Her native town being located in the age-old paradise of fawns on the Nebrodi mountains and the person being as sensitive and as passionate an artist as Anna Napoli, it is clear that her fantastic imagination has taken on a vigorous emotional value that is evident in the originality of her paintings.
Her rich inner life, connected to the experiences lived as a young child in ardent Sicily, leads the woman to live positive intimate emotions and the painter to bring them to life in her paintings; it is a successful elaboration of the past through an expressive language that is never unsettling, never allusive, petrified or melancholy. It is a language of the emotions that betrays her love for a discreet, serene, joyous expressionism that evolves in a play of brush strokes in incisive and effective chromatisms that impart a sense of mystery and magic to her images. These images portray a reality that is imagined but which is also deeply rooted in the re-evocation of arcane memories of enchanting places, of rarefied atmospheres that disclose secret and remote impressions that are deeply set in a young soul.
Visiting "Atmosfere Mediterranee" and the works that compose it means experiencing an original and authentic artistic adventure, immersed in a silence that vibrates with spiritual richness: looking at the painting entitled "Case sul mare", allow yourself to be captivated by the blueness of the waves that surround the houses totally enveloping them in such a way as to make it difficult for us to understand where the sea ends and where the age-old walls dotted with windows start. From the windows, sparkling white curtains fall out, drapes the folds of which perhaps hide the everyday life of the people who live behind them, the toils, joys and fears of a life lived in symbiosis with the immensity of the sea. Our "journey" among Anna Napoli´s paintings continues and lead us to admire "La barca" and "La porta". Everybody knows that a closed door is a sign of distance, of detachment, but not in this case. By looking at the painting one has the impression that this closed door, suffused with colours and marks, is a magic door that does not push anyone away but rather invites us to enter to discover what hides, what it encloses: perhaps a princess, a magic horse or a precious casket. Each one of us will find something different but undoubtedly beautiful, a fascinating story, and we would all like to open it slowly, maybe expecting it to creak but not in a sinister way, but invitingly because all this is what the author of the painting promises us with her strokes of genuine and harmonious energy. And what about the solitary boat with an oar and a rag abandoned inside it. Usually a boat with no people in it and without a background landscape conveys a feeling of loneliness but not in this painting which, on the contrary, is welcoming, attractive and seems to say: "Come on, hop in, there´s an oar, what are you waiting for"?. Let´s take a trip on the sea shaded pink and purple where the sunlight filters through the water caressing it. "La masseria assolata" speaks of a countryside where the nuances of yellow are reminiscent of the colour of ripe crop and the pinkish roofs reveal the innate hopefulness of the workers of the land who are waiting for the warm season, of their hope for a good harvest or for the clemency of the storm. And then "Cupole rosse a Palermo" where glimpses of districts, bell-towers and landscapes tell us that Anna Napoli does not merely portray a place but enters directly and deeply inside it, discovering their lights and shades and conveying such places to us with spontaneity, sharing with us feelings of astonishment and wonder; the passing of time is never felt but rather a possible eternity that hints at an existence that sets itself no boundaries, of a world far removed from sadness and precariousness, made of small things, of fantasies, a clean world with no negative contaminations or unsettling symbolisms, without distressing doubts, perhaps utopian but heart-warmingly consolatory.
There would be such much more to say about the works exhibited at this solo exhibition but little space in which to write about them. However, we cannot finish without mentioning the figures of the people of Sicily: "I giocatori di carte al porto", the elderly figures of "Nebrodi 1 - 2 - 3" or "Donna con noci", people used to the humblest and hardest jobs carried out for years without resignation but rather with an acceptance learnt perhaps from a life lived in communion with nature, whose wise teachings are often ignored, an acceptance that does not erase feelings but which, on the contrary, cultivates them and makes them grow with the warmth conveyed by the slowness of gazes, of movements, of the motions of the soul. In "Ombrelloni rosso e verde" - where the artist has aligned the shapes of two tall, elegant and colourful sun umbrellas, placed straight in the sand, very close to one another, right at the shore front as if ready to challenge the sea winds and the violence of the great waves - it is easy to recognize the metaphor of life as a couple, of human life, of a life lived together and a suggestion on how to face it: united and with courage, ready to fight any adversity.
"MEDITERRANEAN ATMOSPHERES is a significant exhibition which marks an important step in Anna Napoli´s pictorial path and on the Italian artistic scene, hosted by a place as prestigious as the Institute of Italian Culture in Brussels. An exhibition that offers footprints that stay in the mind, visions that accompany and light up a daily life that is not always fulfilling. However, through these images, born out of the places of the soul, one can find the push, the desire to improve our microcosm and that of the people who surround us. The duty of art being, as we know, that of communicating, the message we receive from Anna Napoli´s works is this: "Look beyond closed doors, beyond deceiving appearances, look through veiled spaces, and unexpected images will be revealed to you, new stories ready to be invented" or to be re-invented; we are all aware of how our society needs to receive certain stimuli, certain suggestions which are at times unintentional but nonetheless important and necessary.
2014 Selected with two art works at the BIENNALE D'ARTE of Palermo Italy for 2015