From Rebecca Gallo…
The personal and political are examined in tandem in the darkly amusing, painfully ironic and disarmingly intimate work of Joan Ross. I made this for you is an expansive new body of work that includes drawings, prints, video, custom wallpaper and a giant kangaroo-pelt facsimile of a luxury handbag. Combined, these works present a scathing critique of colonialism and the elements of greed, wilful ignorance, arbitrariness and self-interest that flavoured the colonisation of Australia.
In Ross’s prints and video, markers of the contemporary are superimposed on a colonial-era landscape illustration: high-vis outfits, poker machines, security cameras. A visibly wealthy colonialist couple, their elaborate period costumes yellowed-out with fluoro paint, track through the landscape, compiling curiosities and haplessly trashing sacred lands and complex ecosystems. In a series of more intimate, perhaps autobiographical drawings and collages, melancholy female figures offer up curios, creatures and confessions. These flawed and imploring figures elicit pathos, similar to that which we might feel for the scarred land. Any examination of colonialism is inescapably political, but Ross’s is prefigured by the personal. Her indictment on colonialism is highly personal and idiosyncratic, and is inextricably bound to her own personal narrative.
Until August 29
Michael Reid, Elizabeth Bay
Pic: Joan Ross, Stocktake $ale! Now on!, 2015, hand painted pigment on cotton rag paper, 61 x 90 cm.