Ben Quilty is a well renowned contemporary Australian artist whose thickly painted landscapes and portraits have received international acclaim. He works in a highly expressive style and aims to bring out the emotional qualities of his subjects, through his gestural application of paint. The evident use of broad brushstrokes in his work resembles the techniques of artists such as Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach. However, his work remains distinctively Quilty, by the vast array of bold colours he uses.
Born in 1973 in Sydney Australia, he studied at Sydney College of the Arts and the University of Western Sydney. While Quilty was on scholarship in France, his work started to draw inspiration from cultural initiation rituals performed by Australian males growing up in the 1980’s. The works portrayed the violent and damaging behaviour surrounding the rituals of young male culture, in particular depicting fast cars, fast food and the influence of drugs and alcohol
In 2011, he worked as an official war artist for the Australian Defense Force stationed in Afghanistan. It was here he came into contact with the soldier’s way of life, executing quick sketches and paintings, which depicted the daily frustrations and struggles of a soldier.
Today, Quilty’s works are in the collections of the Art Gallery on NSW in Sydney, the National Gallery of Art in Canberra, and the University of Queensland Art Museum in Brisbane, among others. The artist lives and works in Robertson, Australia.