The work confronts us with colonial references made strange through historical juxtaposition, in order that we may recognise the underlying and ongoing power relations of imperial occupation within our own motivations and presumptions.
The desire to act upon someone else’s property/space/person/culture is all too familiar; a desire perhaps as banal as touching someone else’s shopping or as controlling and organised as the power of a yellow fluorescent hi-vis uniform. The work of Joan Ross recognises a secret desire to trespass upon another’s private territory and identifies the increasing presence of day glow fluorescence in our landscape as an alien invasion of control and possession, not that dis-similar to planting a flag in foreign soil.
For an Australian, the subject of colonialism is emotionally charged, highly sensitive and lived everyday. Joan’s open narratives, disruptive chronologies, playful collaging and her re-visioning of nineteenth century European aesthetics is a measured response to the multi-layered, often paradoxical mix of the brutal, the beautiful, the emotional and the institutional that is colonialism’s legacy.