Jackson Slattery Wrong Formalism

29 June –
21 July 2012
Untitled (Wrong Formalism 1)
Jackson Slattery

Untitled (Wrong Formalism 1)

, 2012
Watercolour on paper
39 x 29cm

Sutton Gallery is pleased to announce Wrong Formalism, an exhibition of new works by Jackson Slattery. Known for his meticulously painted watercolours, Slattery’s latest body of work is fragile and visually dramatic; consciously reducing the use of imagery and narrative in order to concentrate on the surface of objects and the formal composition of painting.

The depth of Slattery’s watercolour practice is brought to the fore in Wrong Formalism, with a series of paintings born out of a complex, process-orientated project. For the last year or so Slattery has been carrying multiple sheets of semi-transparent safety glass as he travels between Australia, Europe and North America. Posed with a single prop – a fake IKEA rose – Slattery photographs the sheets of glass in various countries, then paints a tromp l’oeil copy. The resulting stripped-back images are intentionally abstract: they lack any reference to the wider world, and challenge the viewer to decipher their minute detail and subtle differences. Focusing intensely on the surface of his objects, Slattery captures the various cracks, dents, scratches and remnants of packing tape the glass sheets have accumulated throughout their journey; these markings offering a sensitive, understated allusion to a sense of time passing.

Slattery makes technically accomplished works: unlike digital imagery or painting in oils and acrylics, watercolor is an unforgiving medium – every gesture and mark is permanent, and the capacity for editing and covering over is almost nonexistent. Despite the laboriousness of his chosen medium, Slattery does not subscribe to an overly romantic vision of the painted image. Working with found images and staged scenes that are often captured in quick snap shots, he prefers to masterfully emphasise the unflattering cold light of flash photography. Indeed, he takes pains to minimise any sense of preciousness in his watercolours, with a tendency to paint objects in states of decay or damage.

Jackson Slattery completed a Bachelor of Fine Art, majoring in Drawing, from RMIT University in 2004. Recent solo exhibitions include Props, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2011; Man Made Paradise, TCB art inc., Melbourne, 2010; Dennis Rodman & My Plastic Everything, Sutton Gallery, Project Space, Melbourne, 2009; and Small Ambition, Studio 12, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, 2009. In 2010 his work was featured in Primavera at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney; a significant annual exhibition celebrating the creative achievements of talented artists who are in the early stages of their careers. Slattery’s work has also been included in several important art prizes: he was a finalist in the ABN AMRO Emerging Artists Awards in 2008 and Siemens-RMIT Fine Arts Travelling Scholarship Award in 2003; whilst in 2009 he won the Metro5 Art Award and in 2005 he won the Artholes Self Portrait Prize, Artholes Gallery, Melbourne.

Slattery has participated in a number of residencies, including the 2012 Lenikus-Artist in Residence Programme, Vienna, Austria, and was a studio artist at Gertrude Contemporary between 2008 and 2009. In 2013 Slattery will undertake the Australia Council for the Arts and Anne & Gordon Samstag ISCP Residency in New York, USA.

Artist’s profile