Abandonment is a recurring theme in Annalisa Ferraris' work. Previously, it came in the form of empty swimming pools; in her most recent paintings, those pools have been replaced with empty cigarette packets, empty glasses, bottles and oyster shells. The elements are, in a way, interchangeable – these are all, literally, empty vessels. Even scale between her works can be transposed – the still-lifes, on a table, are tiny, manipulated landscapes, with overflowing ashtrays and stubbed-out cigarettes a symbol of time passing (implied in the pool paintings by the presence of shadows).
As well as the still-lifes, Ferraris also looks at abandoned houses and motels – in many, the empty pools of her previous works play a secondary role; in all, a strong sense of noir narrative is apparent. Ferraris, a finalist in the 2015 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and the 2016 Mosman Art Prize, works in acrylic on board, mainly for the flatness and precision such paint can achieve, but also for its ability to pick up every imperfection in the timber. While she uses the same medium for the still-lifes, her style for these works is much looser – subversion comes not only in the subject matter chosen, but also in the way she depicts it. In a further twist and a blurring of boundaries, she also explores ceramics for this exhibition – creating ashtrays in the shape of empty swimming pools.