You may recognise Ben Quilty’s work if you have frequented the Archibald Prize over the past few years. He has been part of this prestigious event on the Australian art calendar for eight years running now, however he gained the recognition of the wider public in 2009 when he was a runner up. Eventually, in 2011, he won first prize for his painting of the late Margaret Olley. He is renowned for his distinctive style of oil on linen artworks, in which the canvases are covered in what some would consider sloppy brush strokes of inch-thick paint.
While inch-thick paint may be a slight exaggeration, there is no denying his boundless talent for portraiture and his ability to perfectly place a “sloppy” stroke of paint. He truly is one of Australia’s most talented and respected artists of his generation.
In 2011 he spent time in Afghanistan as the Australian War Memorial’s official war artist, as part of their distinguished program of commissioning war art. Whilst undertaking this opportunity, he found inspiration from Australian service personnel. This was shown in subject of his 2012 Archibald Prize entry, which he named “Captain S after Afghanistan”.
The National Art School in Darlinghurst, is currently hosting an exhibition of his body of work, which includes sketches and over twenty studio paintings capturing his time abroad from the artists truly surreal perspective.
The show began on 21st of February and is running until the 13th of April. It is a captivating collection of the artists beautiful and chaotic work. Definitely a must see!
National Art School, Forbes Street, Darlinghurst.