Vol 41(2) - I dig your land
Australia's colonial legacy and its impact on our continent's earliest inhabitants is a key theme in the bold and experimental works of Joan Ross, across differing mediums including drawing, painting, installation, photography, sculpture and video.
In I dig your land she draws inspiration from View on the Wingeecarrabee River, New South Wales, by Joseph Lycett (1774–1825). This convict and artist, born in Staffordshire, England and by profession a portrait and miniature painter, was convicted of forgery at Salop Assizes on 10 August 1811 and sentenced to transportation for 14 years.
The Lycett image becomes a springboard for Ross to explore the early European colonisation of Australia, especially first contact and imperialism. The High Visibility (Hi Vis) clothing worn by the workers in her artwork, as well as the river's lurid green fluoro colouring are seen as metaphors for white colonisation and suggest pollution of the land. As Ross explains, there is 'the idea that men wearing hi vis fluoro safety gear have authority over the land'.
Glasgow-born and now New South Wales-based, Ross has been exhibiting since the late 1980s throughout Australia, as well as Singapore and London. Her work is held in the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), Gold Coast Regional Gallery (Queensland), City of Sydney and Artbank