This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Unforgettable New Landscapes From Sally Ross

Studio Visit

The Archibald Prize alerts us to some truly exceptional paintings, the kind of artworks that stay etched in your mind. While Sally Ross didn’t take out the top award this year, she was again a finalist. Of the 794 entries, her portrait The Huxleys is the one I remember best.

It’s a joy to share a studio visit with this delightfully candid artist as we preview her latest body of work, which goes on exhibit at Murray White Room tomorrow.

15th November, 2018

Inside the home studio of Melbourne-based artist Sally Ross. Figurine from the Salvos, bronze Finger sculpture by Storm Gold from Caves Gallery, ceramic hand by Caroline Gibbes from Arthouse Gallery, Love Poems by Karl Marx (written when Marx was a student – to his ‘beautiful and witty’ wife Jenny  –’ I’m a Romantic fool,’ says Sally), SHIT  by Jordan Marani from Daine Singer Gallery, Canadian artists General Idea‘s edition box for A poodle never begs except for meaning, Jan Lucas’ Piss Off jug from Neon Parc, and Gnome by Gordon Bennett atop an alabaster ashtray. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sally lives and work in an old Victorian house in ‘P-Town’ (Prahran). Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sally credits artist/gallerist/teacher Kez Hughes with helping her to work with better materials and techniques. Artwork: Landscape (11 trees) 130x110cm. Photo – courtesy of the Murray White Room.

To Sally, her space is an ideal work/life environment in which she can thrive. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The artist admits she’s becoming addicted to collaboration. ‘It can only work if you trust and respect each other. It doesn’t work if you don’t let your collaborators ‘do their thing’, she says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Her long studio space is crammed with books and rugs and art and ‘big woofy speakers so I can listen to loud music all day and work late when I need to’. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘My work takes centre stage in my life,’ says Sally. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘‘tis always a tug of war between ever-present doubt and potential ecstasy when putting a show together, but I am thrilled with how it is shaping up,’ says Sally. Artwork: Landscape (7 trees) 130x110cm. Photo – courtesy of the Murray White Room.

Studio details featuring photographs and her Archibald Prize Finalist artwork The Huxleys. ‘The photo is merely a compositional point of departure. All the good stuff is found, not lost in translation,’ Sally explains. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sally’s exhibition runs until December 20th. She’s keen to catch my breath, get to Africa, go to the Brueghel retrospective in Vienna and finish some portrait commissions next. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Elle Murrell
Thursday 15th November 2018

‘My work takes centre stage in my life.’ – Sally Ross.

Sally Ross is striving to carve out a ‘sustainable professional career as an artmonster’ but at the same time, make sure she follows the ‘numerous desires of both her heart and head’.

What does this look like? Well, in May, when the Archibald finalists were announced, Sally was collaborating with her portrait subjects Will and Garrett Huxley, The Huxleys – ‘being dressed in glitter bodysuit and discordant wig at the Art Gallery of New South Wales was quite an honour,’ she tells. But we should be clear, it’s not always like this. Sometimes (in 2017, specifically) it’s working with artist Paulina Olowska in her studio in Poland. At other times, Sally’s days are taken up by more run-of-the-mill liaising with clients, architects and interior designers on site-specific commissions.

How then does art born out of this diversity of adventures appear? For Sally’s most recent exhibition, which opens at Murray White Room tomorrow, it’s vast yet intricately layered vistas in vibrant emerald, teal, and hints of cerulean. These nine new oil-on-board paintings are based on found materials, as is often her process. ‘They emerged from a stinky pile of antiquarian books on 15th/16th-century Flemish art,’ tells the 49-year-old painter, who is astounded by the skill, restraint, and complexity of the early ‘Netherlandish’ artists.

Sally has set out to connect viewers to a deeper sense of time than the relentless instantaneity of contemporary culture through these works. ‘This constant swiping away and stream of next! next! next! that makes people enjoy the potential of a painting, of an object, and materials of real-time and space even more,’ as she puts it.

Her forthcoming showcase is a joint venture, but a pretty atypical one at that. Exhibition-goers will enter through a four-metre high wild smoke bush installation by florist Hattie Molloy, before witnessing Otto Dix inspired skull paintings made with artist Matthew Harris. There’s also 80s Italian seating – by Paolo Deganello for Cassina (1982) – provided by Geoffrey Hatty, which was once showcased on gameshow Sale of the Century! The gallery floor will be covered with antique Persian, Anatolian, Caucasian and European carpets selected by Bob Cadry of Cadrys.

‘The show is about collaboration and the way things co-exist without intending to be didactic, matchy-matchy or follow logical associations,’ invites Sally. ‘As the Huxleys say: “Everything happens for no reason”.’

Sally Ross
November 16th to December 20th
Murray White Room
Sargood Lane, Melbourne

This Week

36.05

Podcast

Dinosaur Designs Co-Founder Louise Olsen On Building An Iconic Australian Brand, On TDF Talks

Lucy Feagins talks to the legendary designer and artist about building an iconic Australian design brand.

News

A Lifetime Of Mim Design Projects In One Book!

‘Works’ is a tome celebrating 21 years of Miriam Fanning’s sophisticated interiors + architecture practice.
Sasha Aarons

Architecture

A Minimalist, Semi-Prefabricated Beach House

Architect Hannah Tribe of Tribe Studio developed a prototype for a partially prefabricated kit home for her own family beach house in Bundee...

Homes

A Cheerful Beachside Retreat

Virginia Morris' colourful 1980s Anglesea home, located just 100 steps from the beach!

Architecture

A Grecian-Inspired Update For A California Bungalow

Alcorn Middleton update a 1980s family home with arches, white-washed columns and a inspired by quintessential Santorini architecture.

Architecture

An Elwood Bungalow That Draws From Within

A innovative extension around a circular garden creates an inward focus to this California bungalow extension by Rob Kennon Architects.

Architecture

A Mid-Century Reimagining Of A Bells Beach Home

Bones House by Lachlan Shepherd Architects is a mid-century inspired makeover of a brick veneer home facing Bells Beach.

14 Brands Making Waves With The Wiggly Trend

From undulating limestone vases to wiggly steel coat-stands, here are 14 wavy furniture pieces and homewares we love!

Shopping

A Childrenswear Label That Takes Us Back To The Golden Years - WIN With Goldie + Ace!

Get ready to send the kids back to school in style with the Golden Years collection from Goldie + Ace!
Sasha Gattermayr
  8 hours ago

11 Brilliant Lighting Designs That Will Light Up Your Life!

From delicate frosted tubes to sculptural glass chandeliers, these are the finalists in the Lighting Design category of The Design Files + L...

Shopping

The New Ceramics Studio Built On Centuries Of Inherited Knowledge

The debut collection from new ceramics studio House Editions by Claudia Lau brings porcelain bowls, plates and vases in experimental glazes
2.37

Interiors

YSG Studio Brings 'Afternoon Delight' To This Dreamy Kitchen Design for Laminex

We take a closer look at YSG Studio's stunning new collaboration with Laminex!

Interiors

A Curvaceous + Calm Edwardian Home Renovation

Working within the exisiting footprint, CJH Studio transformed this Melbourne home with smart planning and minimalist interiors.

Creative People

The Trailblazing Couple Behind Brisbane's New Indigenous Art Centre

Amanda Hayman and Troy Casey are the entrepreneurial couple behind Brisbane's most exciting new art gallery and retail space!

Interiors

The Timeless Update Of A 1950s Portsea Beach House

Pipkorn Kilpatrick improve the flow and functionality of this 1956 home originally designed by Robin Boyd, ensuring its legacy remains in ta...

View Comments

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

Exploring The Microscopic + The Galactic With Brendan Huntley

A long-awaited new exhibition, spanning sculpture, painting, and paper works, from the revered Melbourne-based artist.
Elle Murrell

TDF Collect

TDF Collect Presents 'Parade' By Sean Meilak

Iconography and architectural forms reimagined as contemporary curios, for our first-ever sculpture exhibition – opening next week!

Art

An Exhibition Of Never-Before-Seen Works By Mirka Mora

The new exhibition at Heide Museum of Modern Art, 'Mirka Mora: Pas de Deux – Drawings and Dolls', exploring the artist's enchanting univer...

This Week

Shopping

The New Ceramics Studio Built On Centuries Of Inherited Knowledge

The debut collection from new ceramics studio House Editions by Claudia Lau brings porcelain bowls, plates and vases in experimental glazes

Interiors

The Timeless Update Of A 1950s Portsea Beach House

Pipkorn Kilpatrick improve the flow and functionality of this 1956 home originally designed by Robin Boyd, ensuring its legacy remains in ta...
36.05

Podcast

Dinosaur Designs Co-Founder Louise Olsen On Building An Iconic Australian Brand, On TDF Talks

Lucy Feagins talks to the legendary designer and artist about building an iconic Australian design brand.

11 Brilliant Lighting Designs That Will Light Up Your Life!

From delicate frosted tubes to sculptural glass chandeliers, these are the finalists in the Lighting Design category of The Design Files + L...

Architecture

An Elwood Bungalow That Draws From Within

A innovative extension around a circular garden creates an inward focus to this California bungalow extension by Rob Kennon Architects.

Shopping

A Childrenswear Label That Takes Us Back To The Golden Years - WIN With Goldie + Ace!

Get ready to send the kids back to school in style with the Golden Years collection from Goldie + Ace!
Sasha Gattermayr
  8 hours ago

Interiors

A Curvaceous + Calm Edwardian Home Renovation

Working within the exisiting footprint, CJH Studio transformed this Melbourne home with smart planning and minimalist interiors.

Creative People

The Trailblazing Couple Behind Brisbane's New Indigenous Art Centre

Amanda Hayman and Troy Casey are the entrepreneurial couple behind Brisbane's most exciting new art gallery and retail space!
2.37

Interiors

YSG Studio Brings 'Afternoon Delight' To This Dreamy Kitchen Design for Laminex

We take a closer look at YSG Studio's stunning new collaboration with Laminex!

News

A Lifetime Of Mim Design Projects In One Book!

‘Works’ is a tome celebrating 21 years of Miriam Fanning’s sophisticated interiors + architecture practice.
Sasha Aarons

Homes

A Cheerful Beachside Retreat

Virginia Morris' colourful 1980s Anglesea home, located just 100 steps from the beach!

Architecture

A Mid-Century Reimagining Of A Bells Beach Home

Bones House by Lachlan Shepherd Architects is a mid-century inspired makeover of a brick veneer home facing Bells Beach.

14 Brands Making Waves With The Wiggly Trend

From undulating limestone vases to wiggly steel coat-stands, here are 14 wavy furniture pieces and homewares we love!

Architecture

A Grecian-Inspired Update For A California Bungalow

Alcorn Middleton update a 1980s family home with arches, white-washed columns and a inspired by quintessential Santorini architecture.

Architecture

A Minimalist, Semi-Prefabricated Beach House

Architect Hannah Tribe of Tribe Studio developed a prototype for a partially prefabricated kit home for her own family beach house in Bundee...

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

Exploring The Microscopic + The Galactic With Brendan Huntley

A long-awaited new exhibition, spanning sculpture, painting, and paper works, from the revered artist.
Elle Murrell

TDF Collect

TDF Collect Presents 'Parade' By Sean Meilak

Announcing our first-ever sculpture exhibition!

Art

An Exhibition Of Never-Before-Seen Works By Mirka Mora

The new exhibition at Heide Museum of Modern Art, 'Mirka Mora: Pas de Deux – Drawings and Dolls', exploring the artist's enchanting univer...

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.