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

Architecture

Avoiding The Coastal Cliché, With Mid Century Flair

A Portsea home gets a contemporary revamp, from Studio Esteta.
Miriam McGarry

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Ceramicist Inspired By Japanese Ikebana

A studio visit with Kate Brouwer of Asobimasu Clay, one of Melbourne's most exciting makers!
Elle Murrell

Homes

A Stylish, Sentimental Home In St Kilda

The jaw-dropping, grand St Kilda home of Barb Hyman and family.
Lucy Feagins
  6 hours ago

Studio Visit

The Seafaring Painter Pushing The Boundaries Of Maritime Art

A sail and studio visit with one-of-a-kind artist Gemma Rasdall, as her new body of work is unveiled in Sydney.
Elle Murrell

News

Sunday Life Drawing Classes In Seriously Lush Surrounds

Fitzroy-based creatives Ladies of Leisure team up with artist Lani Mitchell for a dreamy life drawing series in July!
Miriam McGarry

News

This Designer Pop Up Store Is Open For Three Months Only!

Shop iconic pieces from Cult styled to perfection by Michelle Macarounas of Infinite Design Studio.
Sally Tabart
  20 hours ago

Art

A New Art Collaboration At Raes on Wategos

The iconic Byron Bay hotel launches its first Artist in Residence program, with French-Australian painter Stanislas (Stan) Piechaczek.

Shopping

A New Start-Up That Packs A Punch + A Giveaway!

Melbourne luggage brand July puts a new spin on suitcases.
Lucy Feagins
  22 hours ago

News

An Exhibition Celebrating Humankind's Giant Leap

Geelong Gallery is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with a captivating showcase, bringing together artistic responses
Elle Murrell

News

Mangkaja x Gorman = Perfection

Clear space in your wardrobe right now, Gorman’s first collaboration with Indigenous artists is going to fly off the shelves!
Miriam McGarry

News

A Showcase Of Architectural Sculptures + Urban-Inspired Artworks

The Koskela Gallery presents new ceramics by Jane McKenzie and Saxon Quinn inspired by the built environment.
Sally Tabart

TDF Design Awards

Take A Stroll Through The TDF Design Awards Landscape Design Finalists!

Celebrating the best of private gardens, civic spaces and hidden courtyards, across Australia.

Art

A Foreign Affair With Ross Taylor

The Kyneton based artist shares his bold drawings, exploring the luxury and debauchery (!) of overseas holidays.
Miriam McGarry
  19 hours ago

Architecture

A Sydney Renovation With Serious WOW Factor

A grand Mediterranean villa in Bellevue Hill, reimagined by Luigi Rosselli Architects.
Miriam McGarry
45:53

Podcast

TDF Talks With Architect Penelope Seidler

This national icon reflects on her early life, working with her husband Harry in the 60s/70s, and her proudest achievement to date!

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

Art

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

A New Start-Up That Packs A Punch + A Giveaway!

Melbourne luggage brand July puts a new spin on suitcases.
Lucy Feagins
  22 hours ago

Art

A Foreign Affair With Ross Taylor

The Kyneton based artist shares his bold drawings, exploring the luxury and debauchery (!) of overseas holidays.
Miriam McGarry
  19 hours ago

Homes

A Stylish, Sentimental Home In St Kilda

The jaw-dropping, grand St Kilda home of Barb Hyman and family.
Lucy Feagins
  6 hours ago

Studio Visit

The Seafaring Painter Pushing The Boundaries Of Maritime Art

A sail and studio visit with one-of-a-kind artist Gemma Rasdall, as her new body of work is unveiled in Sydney.
Elle Murrell

Art

A New Art Collaboration At Raes on Wategos

The iconic Byron Bay hotel launches its first Artist in Residence program, with French-Australian painter Stanislas (Stan) Piechaczek.

News

Sunday Life Drawing Classes In Seriously Lush Surrounds

Fitzroy-based creatives Ladies of Leisure team up with artist Lani Mitchell for a dreamy life drawing series in July!
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Sydney Renovation With Serious WOW Factor

A grand Mediterranean villa in Bellevue Hill, reimagined by Luigi Rosselli Architects.
Miriam McGarry

News

This Designer Pop Up Store Is Open For Three Months Only!

Shop iconic pieces from Cult styled to perfection by Michelle Macarounas of Infinite Design Studio.
Sally Tabart
  20 hours ago

News

A Showcase Of Architectural Sculptures + Urban-Inspired Artworks

The Koskela Gallery presents new ceramics by Jane McKenzie and Saxon Quinn inspired by the built environment.
Sally Tabart

TDF Design Awards

Take A Stroll Through The TDF Design Awards Landscape Design Finalists!

Celebrating the best of private gardens, civic spaces and hidden courtyards, across Australia.

News

An Exhibition Celebrating Humankind's Giant Leap

Geelong Gallery is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with a captivating showcase, bringing together artistic responses
Elle Murrell

Architecture

Avoiding The Coastal Cliché, With Mid Century Flair

A Portsea home gets a contemporary revamp, from Studio Esteta.
Miriam McGarry
45:53

Podcast

TDF Talks With Architect Penelope Seidler

This national icon reflects on her early life, working with her husband Harry in the 60s/70s, and her proudest achievement to date!

News

Mangkaja x Gorman = Perfection

Clear space in your wardrobe right now, Gorman’s first collaboration with Indigenous artists is going to fly off the shelves!
Miriam McGarry

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Ceramicist Inspired By Japanese Ikebana

A studio visit with Kate Brouwer of Asobimasu Clay, one of Melbourne's most exciting makers!
Elle Murrell

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

Art

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...