Bold and experimental, Joan Ross' practice investigates the legacy of colonialism in Australia with a particular focus on reconfiguring the colonial Australian landscape and drawing attention to the complex and ongoing issues surrounding the effects of globalisation and colonisation.
Since the late 1980s, Joan has exhibited across a range of mediums, from drawing, painting, photography and sculpture to installation, video, and virtual reality. Her experimental works combine colonial iconography and landscape painting with collaged elements of western commodity culture connected to land tenure and Aboriginal peoples' active presence on the land.
Joan's use of fluorescent yellow and high-visibility clothing symbolises colonisation and fear. The act of depicting people in this bright clothing and placing fluorescent objects in the landscape does more, however, than simply illustrate colonisation; it also highlights and exaggerates the foreign or alien aspects of her work and its association with the landscape and the cultural and spiritual connection to place.
Recent projects include designing the hoarding for The Art Gallery of New South Wales' Sydney Modern expansion, and illuminating the façade of The National Gallery of Australia during the 2021 Enlighten Festival. Joan was awarded the National Art School Fellowship in 2023.