Dan & Lee Ross

"Juxtaposition of natural features butted up to manmade structures has given us a vocabulary of new ideas."

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 many private and public art collections, including Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis and the University of Wisconsin-School of Pharmacy in Madison. They have exhibited 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, and earthy colors, Dan and Lee Ross are 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 fifty 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.
Walking the breakwall begins with climbing a small set of stairs bringing you to the narrow top of the wall. Raw, wild Lake Superior on your left, calm Grand Marais harbor is on your right. The narrow ribbon of a path built up over the years on a ledge rock foundation can be treacherous. You can lose your footing if you’re not paying attention.Layers of history are evident. Glacial striation from the last ice age contrast with evidence of previous attempts to hold back the lake. Holes drilled for anchoring structures and boats are now voids. Juxtaposition of natural features butted up to manmade structures has given us a vocabulary of new ideas.