March 27th 2014

Katerina Sakkas

Whistle and I'll come to you

Exhibition runs Wednesday 2nd - Saturday 12th April, 2014


My strikingly multi-talented friend Katerina Sakkas has a show opening in Sydney next week. Her hauntingly beautiful paintings are the reason my partner & I have chosen to stay in Sydney for one more night before flying off to Italy at 6am the following morning. I suggest unless you are scheduled in for a triple bypass the same night, that you head along to see her work. I'm eagerly awaiting the results of her labours and asked her a few questions in anticipation... 


1. Your upcoming show is called 'Whistle and I'll come to you' referencing a short story by M.R. James, from a 1904 publication called 'Ghost stories of an Antiquary'. Do your paintings function as a kind of ghost story?  


Yes, I'd like people to look at this exhibition in a similar way to how they'd watch a horror film, or read a ghost story. Though there isn't a specific story, the narrative element is very important to these paintings. As I was working on the series, I also had in the back of my mind the idea of 'haunted' paintings in literature, like The Portrait of Dorian Gray. (I should add that while I referenced the title, none of the works relate to the content of M.R. James' short story.) 


2. Your paintings are unapologetically Horror themed. If you had to choose 3 (horror) films to be played on loop through out the duration of your show which would they be?

Great question! Murnau's Nosferatu, Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now and Takashi Miike's Audition. Except then no one would look at the paintings...

3. How does your choice of palette play a role in your work, specifically colour and tonality?

Colour is a defining aspect in most of the work I do. For this series, given the subject, I wanted to create a heightened twilit or nocturnal atmosphere - the kind of low lighting where our eyes don't perceive the full colour spectrum - so many of the paintings are very blue-toned, some monochrome. There are about three exceptions where I've gone for bright, warm colours and a more lurid B-movie poster feel.

4. What do you feel can be expressed through a group of your paintings that cannot be expressed by singular pieces ?


Seeing the works together I hope will give a sense of an overarching narrative, with a more expansive sense of place and 'characters' reappearing.

5. How long have you been working towards this show? Has your work deviated on any side paths during the creative process?


A long time: there'll be works here from 2010! And the theme was being planned before that. There have definitely been deviations from this project over the past four years, including unrelated paintings and my work as a freelance film reviewer for Filmink and RealTime magazines.


6. Do you already have plans for your next project?


Yes indeed. I'll be soldiering on with a graphic novel - though my last abortive attempt at a comic turned into this series of paintings, so who knows what the outcome will be...