Dan and Lee Ross met in 1972 as college students at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Dan, who is from Madison, Wisconsin, and Lee, who was born in St. Paul, began collaborating at that time, an artistic and professional endeavor that continues today. Their work has been commissioned for numerous private and public art collections, including Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis and the University of Wisconsin-School of Pharmacy in Madison. They have exhibited extensively throughout the United States, and their work is included in several regional corporate art collections, including the Minnesota Historical Society and the Mayo Clinic.
Known for their use of simplified, geometric forms, earthy colors and rich materials, Dan and Lee Ross are most inspired by the seasonal changes they observe in their everyday surroundings. Elements of nature are transformed into elegant, modern designs, a creative process they credit to the landscape just beyond their front door.
The artists have worked side-by-side for over forty years, from the initial ideas and designs to their finished ceramic sculptures, stone carvings and prints. Their home and studio is located in Hovland, Minnesota, just 16 miles north of Grand Marais. Living in northern Minnesota and along the lake has had a dramatic impact on their work.
“People often ask us: ‘where do your ideas come from, what influences you? Our travels to Japan, Africa, Europe and South America have an impact, but many times it is just going for a walk near our home and seeing something that excites our curiosity. It can be as simple as turning over a stone on the beach or launching our canoe on Lake Superior, looking below the surface into the deep unknown.”