Pakenham artist’s horror show

Annette Slattery with her work The Last Jar of Air. 285947_05 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

A series of photographs, sculptures and films by Pakenahm artist Annette Slattery explores the dark side of human nature.

Drawing on film noir, paranormal photography and horror, Annette asks in her artwork, ‘are these the end times, or simply the dusk before the dawn?’

The end is nigh…maybe…

During these times of pandemic, global inflation and environmental catastrophe, it has become reasonable for people to wonder if this is the end of the world, she explained.

“I’ve been obsessed with the end times for a while now long before this Covid-19 thing turned up,” Annette said.

“When it happened, I was probably readier to burst into action than most.

“Any disaster film devotee knows that people who accept what’s happening around them and act quickly have a better chance than the ones who dither.”

Annette’s obsession with film is evident as many of her large scale photographs bear hallmarks of famous horror genres.

The influences of Abbott and Costello, Japanese Horror Slasher, hammer films and George R Romero are all around.

Annette has even produced her own short films.

“I’ve never made films before,” she said, “technology and I aren’t usually friends.“

“But I’ve really liked this.

“Putting on crazy makeup and prancing around like a fool and then being like I’m this serious director reviewing the footage and giving notes. My favourite bit, weirdly, is editing, when I start getting into it and trimming and changing and stretching the raw footage to do what I want.

“It’s cool. Don’t expect anything too flash though. The special effects are pretty hokey, sometimes deliberately.”

Annette has worked collaboratively in many of the projects in this exhibition.

“Other people have given so much to this show and I honestly couldn’t have put it together without them,“ she said.

“They’ve all said how much fun it’s been. I’m turning 50 in June, so I made a conscious decision that I wasn’t gonna make this about what I thought other people wanted.

“I’ve been doing that my whole career and I’m still dirt poor. I decided this time I was just gonna do whatever I thought was fun.

“Not that I think it’s gonna make me money, it’s just that I’ll be poor on my own terms.”

Annette is also reprising an ongoing series of sculptures she has shown before.

“My Little People have always been to me about the apocalypse,“ she said.

“People were forever asking me what they were pointing at and I always kept my mouth shut and left it up to them to figure out.

“But in my head they were pointing at the impending apocalypse, whatever form that might take. I’m restaging them in a way that heavily suggests environmental collapse and suffocation of the planet.

“I think it gives them more urgency and weight.”

Dusk is open on 25 and 26 June, 12pm to 3pm at Gate 6 Gallery, Cardinia Street Berwick.