Jackson Slattery
Born 1983, Melbourne, Victoria, Lives and works between Melbourne & Montreal

Born in 1983, artist Jackson Slattery currently lives and works between Melbourne and Montreal. Since graduating from RMIT with a BFA , majoring in drawing, in 2004, Slattery had participated in numerous exhibitions including most recently in Primavera at the MCA in 2010 and has also been recognised as a finalist and winner of significant art prizes including the Metro5 Art Award in 2009. Earlier this year (2011) he held his inaugural solo exhibition at Sutton Gallery in Melbourne, which was critically acclaimed. His work is included in both private and public collections in Australia and overseas.

Slattery whose technically accomplished works, which he regards as drawings with paint, are based on digital photographs; either personal or sourced from such disparate sites such as National Geographic and the online photo–sharing site Flickr. There is an apparent paradox here, where fleeting and ephemeral images painstakingly observed and meticulously rendered are invested with a new life and hinting at another history, a sort of conceptual tromp l’oeil.

His Metro5 Art Award–winning watercolour on paper work, Our Plastic Everything is Broken 2008, a painting of Muslim pilgrims prostrating in a crowded Mecca street, took a month to complete, working eight hours a day. As he observed, “All my pieces take a long time to complete but that’s part of the reason I am doing it. It means a lot to me and I choose my images with care so it justifies the time I spend creating each piece.” 

However in his solo exhibition entitled Props, Slattery extended his practice not only to include installation pieces but also conceptually, in a kind of word–play on the notion of the theatrical prop as a visual illusion, a ‘tromp’ or ‘prestige’ from its Latin root, ‘praestigiae’ meaning ‘sleight of hand’. Casually leaning against the gallery walls were beautifully veined and polished slabs of ‘marble’ props constructed in relatively weightless fibreglass. His inversion of the symbolic order continued with the meticulous rendering of the marble veining, encapsulating visually illusive, tongue–in–cheek text: ‘Beach Boys’, that quintessential 60s California surf rock band and ‘Man made paradise’, very Gold Coast. 

Text by Dr Anne Sanders, art historian and writer based near Canberra, who writes regularly for art magazines, journals and exhibition catalogues. 
2012 Australia Council for the Arts and Anne & Gordon Samstag ISCP Residency, New York 
2004 Bachelor of Fine Arts, RMIT

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