Sally Ross

(Born) 1965 in Morristown, NJ, USA
(Based) New York, NY, USA


Biography ( )


Sally Ross was raised in Florham Park, a municipality in Morris County, NJ USA, after being born in Morristown, New Jersey. In 1987, she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University’s New York State College of Ceramics, where she focused on painting. Ross originally resisted this institutional education as an obstinate but productive student and subsequently in her creative work for close to thirty years. It was immersed in the materialism and artmaking of the 1970s. Ross has just lately started to appreciate the material viewpoints she was taught while attending the NYS College of Ceramics.

In a time of creative turmoil, abstraction decisively replaced realism. Ross opted to spend the time she took off from painting to go to museums and galleries because she wanted to advance in her painting but was unable to resolve the realism’s aesthetic problems. She went to the 2012 Whitney Museum Yayoi Kusama exhibition opening at this time. As she was ushered by the crowd into a tiny, cramped space filled with white Infinity Net paintings, Ross had a revelation about abstraction.

She returned to her craft with newfound enthusiasm, stitching pieces of canvas together in a quilt-like method before stretching the shape across a wall, seeing these pieces as structures rather than paintings. Ross would paint and remove pieces as she saw appropriate because she was vertically positioned. Intuitively using a tactile, experimental method and as though with an unseen sightline toward the ultimate shape, Ross questions and tests the area between the canvas’ surface and the wall behind. She uses canvas pieces, painstakingly crafted stitches, and blasts of paint to produce the dynamic spills. She does this by shooting arrows into balloons that have paint inside of them. In other pieces, she uses lacrosse sticks toss paint encased in wax paper. Ross’ paintings in their materiality and actionable qualities exude her playful curiosity and above all, her desire for freedom from the framework of painting.

Her first European exhibition, Painting Piece-By-Piece, was presented by the Maramotti Collection in 2018. Recent exhibitions include Sally Ross, Fergus McCaffrey, New York, NY USA; Works of the Jenney Archive, Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY USA; Monkey Wrench, Sean Horton Gallery, New York, NY USA; The Fifth Genre, Galerie Lelong, New York, NY USA; and Sally Ross, Gallery Min Min, Tokyo, Japan.


  • Sally Ross, Painting Piece-By-Piece
  • Sally Ross, Painting Piece-By-Piece
  • Sally Ross, Painting Piece-By-Piece
  • Sally Ross, Reggio Emilia
  • Sally Ross, One-shot
  • Sally Ross, Cumulus
  • Sally Ross, Game Terrain
  • Sally Ross, The Garden Sisters
  • Sally Ross, Caged Color
  • Sally Ross, Big Pink 2
  • Sally Ross, Queequeg
  • Sally Ross, Goodbye Old Friend
  • Sally Ross, Betsy's Gift
  • Sally Ross, Holy Roller

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by Virgile Janssen