Photo courtesy of Stella Olivier
Jillian Ross, a leading South African collaborative master printer, returned to Canada in 2020. Ross has been the Master Printer and Director of the David Krut Workshop (DKW) in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the past 16 years working with celebrated South African and international artists in collaborative printmaking.
Ross' most notable ongoing collaboration exists with William Kentridge. Since 2006 the Ross has collaborated with the artist in creating over 150 editions at DKW. Among others, three major bodies of work are the Triumphs and Laments Woodcuts series of six life-size, multiple-plate woodcuts with collage (2016–2020); the Universal Archive series of 75 linocuts on dictionary pages (2011–2014); and The Nose series of 30 etchings (2006–2010).
Large bodies of work, in addition to her work with William Kentridge, have been created with over 100 artists, such as Mongezi Ncaphayi, Deborah Bell, Stephen Hobbs, Robyn Penn, Wilma Cruise and Mikhael Subotzky. More recent collaborations include multi-media works by emerging artist Pebofatso Mokoena for Internal Probes (exhibited in Johannesburg, 2020), multiple process prints with Serbian-born Maja Maljević for Silence of the Change (Johannesburg and New York, 2019), and Latitudes Limited, five-colour silkscreens with artists Sthenjwa Luthuli, Pebofatso Mokoena, Mbali Tshabalala, Adejoke Tugbiyele, and Clint Strydom, created for the first edition of the Latitudes Art Fair in Johannesburg in 2019.
Ross began her career in 2003 under the mentorship of David Krut who has been in print publishing for over 40 years. Master printers from the US and the UK assisted in the workshop expansion and training and in time Ross herself became a master printer, workshop manager and director of the David Krut Workshop.
Working together, Ross and Krut have established a team of dedicated printers - Kim-Lee Loggenberg, Sbongiseni Khulu, Chad Cordeiro, Roxy Kaczamarek, and Sarah Judge. The DKW team specializes in intaglio printing, relief, and monotype techniques. Collaboration and innovation are the bywords for the workshop. Multi-tasking is the key to testing the limits of art-making mediums with established artists. Ross involves emerging artists, printers, and interns in the process allowing skills transfer and development in the creation of a print.
Ross has a major emphasis on working with established and emerging artists and on supporting education through workshops as part of its ongoing education program. Jillian and Amé Bell, the Gallery Director at David Krut Projects in Parkwood, Johannesburg, collaborated on the conceptualisation of DKW’s ongoing projects in line with the and exhibition programmes in Johannesburg and New York. Together, they maintained relationships with artists and developed local exhibitions, art fairs, and international collaborations.
Ross’ collaborations have been exhibited in South Africa, Europe, the United Kingdom, North America, and Australia and can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Print Study Centre at the University of Alberta, The Museum of Toledo, The Yale University Art Gallery
and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden.
Many of Ross’ collaborative projects with William Kentridge have been shown
internationally at well-respected institutions, such as Kunstmuseum Basel
(Switzerland), Art Gallery of New South Wales (Australia), The Berlin Kulturforum (Germany), Instituto Moreira Salles (Brazil), The Royal Academy, The Hayward
Gallery (United Kingdom), and Zeitz MOCAA–Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
Ross has given lectures at the Highpoint Centre for Printmaking in Minneapolis (2010): the Southern Graphics Conference: Print MKE in Milwaukee (2013) and Emily Carr (2021). Residencies include the leading artist-in-residence for the BAiR Text program at The Banff Centre in 2016 and the artist-in-residence at the Griffin Art Projects in North Vancouver in 2021.
Master Printer Jillian Ross (right) with printers Chad Cordeiro (left) and Sbongiseni Khulu (centre);
the core collaborative team for William Kentridge’s Triumphs and Laments Woodcuts series (2016 – 2020) published by David Krut Workshop.
Photograph by Richard Kilpert at the Centre of Arts Education, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, December 2019.
Her collaborative projects are well-documented through publications, such as the
recently released of Prints and Their Makers by Master Printer Phil Sanders and art
journals such as Art South Africa, De Arte, Art in Print, Printmaking Today, and Art
Jillian Ross was born in Canada in 1978 and completed a Bachelor of Fine Art with
distinction from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon in 2002. Ross has
apprenticed with Master Printer Phil Sanders from PS Marlowe, NYC; Master Printer
Jack Shirreff from 107 Workshop, UK; Master Printer Randy Hemminghaus from
Judith Brodsky Centre, NYC; Zhané Warren from Warren Editions, SA and has
worked beside many other experienced printers throughout her career.
In 2020 Jillian Ross returned to Canada with her husband and two children.
Whilst developing new relationships and projects in Canada, such as a soon-to-be
released collaborative print project at the University of Alberta with William
Kentridge, Ross will be strengthening her old ones in South Africa by continuing her
inclusive collaborative work with the David Krut Workshop (DKW) and other project
Her aim is to bring her skills in printmaking to the arts in Canada to bridge her two home countries by continuing and developing relationships with artists, printmakers and collaborators.