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Visual Art: Ben Quilty

Online resources supporting the learning and teaching of the Visual Arts

About Ben Quilty

Ben Quilty’s painting is not polite. Smeared, smudged, caked and slapped onto the picture plane with bold virtuosity, his rich impasto works challenge assumptions. Using bold and unsettling subjects, Quilty explores the problematic relationship between the personal and the cultural. 

Iconic imagery, animated by a textural third dimension, also becomes a vehicle for painterly meditations on the potency of painting. Emphatically expressive, they deny rumours that the medium is outmoded. Rather, their powerful and irresistable effect continues painting’s noble tradition as an antidote to complacency. 

Sydney-based Quilty was already a regular exhibitor prior to completing Bachelor degrees in both Visual Arts and Design at Sydney University.

His work continues to draw critical acclaim with regular and highly successful solo exhibitions in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. 

Quilty has completed residencies in several Australian centres, as well as in Paris as the winner of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, and with the assistance of the Australia Council, in the Barcelona Studio Residency in Spain. 

He has been a finalist in the prestigious Wynne and Archibald prizes and won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize in 2009 and the Archibald Prize in 2011. In 2011 Quilty travelled to Afghanistan as an official war artist with The Australian War Memorial. His work is held in the collections of the Art Galleries of South Australia and New South Wales, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Queensland University of Technology Art Collection, and numerous corporate and private collections.

Source: Jan Murphy Gallery

Baby Rorschach 2 2012

Self portrait after Afghanistan 2

Captain Kate Porter, after Afghanistan

Troy Park, After Afghanistan

Self portrait with boat, after Fiji

Air Commodore John Oddie, After Afghanistan

Subject guide created by

contact Tania Sheko 

The Fiji Wedding 2012