Joan Ross

Let’s party like it’s 1815 [animation], 2022 
High Definition animation with audio, 8 min 12 sec, animation and sound: Josh Raymond, edition of 10 + 2 AP  

Advertisements pervade our lives and our disconnection with nature is like a ravine, my exhibition Don’t let leaves into your house smells the stench of Possession, our latest perfume. We look at false discoveries. 
Ross penetrates the canvas of colonial era paintings. Let’s party like its 1815 is imbued with references whilst it critiques Australian colonisation and its legacies. “I see Australian colonisation like a car crash, in slow motion we watch the lack of regard and insensitivity, the long drawn out slide towards the crumpled heap. You saw it happening but you couldn’t stop it, now its left for us to clean up.” 
Penetrating the colonial canvas, Ross leaves us to watch a tableau of greed. Separation from nature, self-interest, lack of care, false discovering, possession, ownership, mansions, silverware, celebrations for control over ‘their land’, blow flies, bees, fireworks, balloons, lush curtains, fake advertisements for leaf blowers and perfume, native versus non-native plants, pollination, blowing leaves, flowers with the heads of colonists, security cameras, butterflies, superiority, a huge willy willy, with leather lounges, tv’s, lightbulbs, happy couples figurines, pianos, vases, cutlery, paintings etc. all the trappings spin and spin, spitting out and leaving us with the Chesterfeild lounge and the mansion, they sink, taking us back to nature, as it was. 
We set the table … 

Artist Biography

Bold and experimental, Joan Ross’ practice investigates the legacy of colonialism in Australia with a particular focus on reconfiguring the colonial Australian landscape and drawing attention to the complex and ongoing issues surrounding the effects of globalisation and colonisation. 

Since the late 1980s, Joan has exhibited across a range of mediums, from drawing, painting, photography and sculpture to installation, video, and virtual reality. Her experimental works combine colonial iconography and landscape painting with collaged elements of western commodity culture connected to land tenure and Aboriginal peoples’ active presence on the land. 

Joan’s use of fluorescent yellow and high-visibility clothing symbolises colonisation and fear. The act of depicting people in this bright clothing and placing fluorescent objects in the landscape does more, however, than simply illustrate colonisation; it also highlights and exaggerates the foreign or alien aspects of her work and its association with the landscape and the cultural and spiritual connection to place. 

Recent projects include designing the hoarding for The Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Sydney Modern expansion, and illuminating the façade of The National Gallery of Australia during the 2021 Enlighten Festival. Joan was awarded the National Art School Fellowship in 2023. 

Represented by N.Smith Gallery (Gadigal Country/Sydney), Booth L1. 

Joan Ross, Let’s party like it’s 1815 [animation] (film still), 2022 High Definition animation with audio, 8 m 12 s  Animation and sound: Josh Raymond  Edition of 10 + 2 AP.