Acclaimed painter Sally Ross announces a new partnership with Martin Browne Contemporary by staging her first solo exhibition in Sydney in 15 years.
The exhibition at Browne’s Paddington gallery shows Ross working with the landscape genre that has been a cornerstone of her practice.
The new show, on view from 19 September to 13 October, will reveal the artist working on an unprecedented scale, including creating her largest ever painting – the 2.25-metre-tall Landscape (Two Trees).
“I’ve loved making something that’s bigger than me,” Ross says.
“It’s nice to be overpowered by the scale but there’s still an intensity of detail all over it, so it’s really quite beautiful. I’m thrilled with it and can’t wait for people to see it.”
Browne says he is excited to bring Ross’s work to a Sydney audience.
“I have always been a huge admirer of Sally’s work and have waited a long time to present it in Sydney. I’m delighted that she has now agreed to join the gallery and show with me,” he says.
“Sally has always had a very distinctive voice, both in her landscapes and her portrait work. There is no other painter like her. What makes a great painter is somebody that has an individual vision – Sally definitely has that.”
As a four-time Archibald Prize finalist, Ross may be more familiar to Sydney audiences from her portraiture. The new exhibition complements this understanding by showing the artist’s timeless take on the landscape genre.
“For me, the best way to think about what connects portraiture and landscape is that they’re both conventional genres. I describe myself as a traditional easel painter and I’m attracted to the freedom I can find within those formal constraints,” she says.
“It’s an endless return in my work. The motif of the tree and the landscapes find an autonomy and I love that idea of getting beyond representation. Art can take you to places that exist beyond language and is quite irrational. It’s like when you look at a Cezanne picture of apples: you don’t just go, ‘Yeah, there’s some apples.’ You go, ‘Wow, how can that be so extraordinary; it’s just some apples.’”
Ross is known for her voracious consumption of art and images, working in an unusual method where her compositions are radically reworked from found photography and images in old books, magazines and postcards.
“The work comes from my ongoing dialogue with art across the ages. I strongly believe that art can connect us to a deeper sense of time than the relentless instantaneity of contemporary culture and social media,” Ross says.
“Though I’m as guilty as anyone else of spending too much time looking at images online, I urge people to see art in the flesh. That presence, experience and pleasure cannot be replaced by the instant access provided by technology.”
At Martin Browne Contemporary, the gallery floor will be covered with antique Persian, Anatolian, Caucasian and European carpets selected by Bob Cadry of Cadrys.
“Bob and I have done two shows together now and he knows what I want before I even want it,” Ross says.
“Carpets add another energy or resonance. They get us away from the white cube and provide a sense of embodied time that works against this simply being a presentation of new paintings.
“It’s a physical presence you experience, which is also what I hope my art offers: a somewhat mysterious space for contemplation and respite.”