Ben Quilty
Elwood Park – farewell winter 2006
oil and aerosol on linen
150 x 160 cm
Private collection
Courtesy of the artist, Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane and GRANTPIRRIE, Sydney


Past Exhibitions
16 August - 15 November 2009

Ben Quilty is a young painter, who, in less than a decade, has won immense popular appeal. Painting with high energy, Quilty’s works offer an insight into the heartland of suburban masculinity, his subjects ranging from portraits of beloved LJ Torana, his ‘wasted’ mates, his son Joe and, more recently, himself.

Just as Arthur Streeton, a century ago, called on artists to paint local and familiar subjects, Quilty has mined his memories of growing up in north-western Sydney and its culture of back-yard barbeques and fast cars.

Quilty also finds contemporary relevance in the past. He has explored the Australian landscape and colonial history, with images of Captain Cook, the ‘Budgie’, Australia’s coat of arms, and the ‘Bedford Downs’ massacre.

In his technique, Quilty flirts with failure. Abstract slabs of colour—applied with a cake-making trowel—are executed with rapid-fire precision. More recently, he has used the Rorschach technique to double and ‘annihilate’ the image.

Ben Quilty’s Self portrait dead (over the hills and far away) won the The University of Queensland National Artists’ Self Portrait Prize in 2007. In 2009 he won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and was runner-up in the Archibald Prize, both with Rorschach portraits of singer Jimmy Barnes.

BEN QUILTY LIVE! is the first major exhibition to survey the paintings of Ben Quilty, and includes works drawn from public and private collections.

A UQ Art Museum Touring Exhibition.

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