Born to be bold – groundbreaking artist Ben Quilty’s first major survey opens at GOMA
As well as being a beautiful thing to look at, art happens to be a major vehicle for activism, awareness and social change – which is a huge factor in Ben Quilty’s work. The Australian artist has become prolific in the cultural realm for his seamless fusion of social commentary and breathtakingly bold style of painting – and now a whole stack of his work is coming our way. Coming to GoMA from June 29, Quilty is the artist’s first major survey celebrating his significant output.
Quilty as an exhibition truly highlights Ben’s dual engagement in the Australian community as both an artist and an activist. Developed by the Art Gallery of South Australia, the pieces on display reflect Ben’s signature bold contemporary style as curated by AGSA’s Dr Lisa Slade. Audiences can marvel at Ben’s multi-layered works and inimitable style – the rich impasto style of thick smears, smudges and caking applied with a confidence and precision that is wholly unique.
The exhibition showcases a breadth of subjects that Ben has focused on across his career, from early reflections on the initiation rituals performed by young Australian men through to his time as an official war artist in Afghanistan, not to mention his memorable campaign to save the lives of Bali Nine pair Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Audiences can also take in his versions Australian landscapes, alongside raw, intimate portraits of himself, his family and his friends. As well as a thought-provoking visual offering, the exhibition is also packed with accompanying events to enhance the experience – think talks, tours and even live painting activations with Quilty himself.
Quilty is open at GOMA from June 29 to October 13 and is free to enter – for more information, head to our Event Guide.
1: Portrait of Ben Quilty. Photograph: Daniel Boud.
2: Ben Quilty / Australia, born 1973 / Scream after Leonardo 2014 / Porcelain (edition of five, artist proof two) / 18.0 x 20.0 x 17.0 cm/ Collection of the artist. Courtesy the artist. / Photograph: Mim Stirling
3: Ben Quilty / Australia, born 1973 / Bedford Downs Rorschach 2008 /Oil on linen (two panels) / 214.0 x 366.0 cm (overall) / Collection of the artist. Courtesy the artist.
4: Ben Quilty /Australia, born 1973 / The Last Supper 2016 / Oil on linen / 204.0 x 267.0 cm / Private collection. Courtesy the artist.
5: Ben Quilty / Australia, born 1973 / Albert 2004 / Oil on canvas (two panels) / 135.0 x 220.0 cm (overall) / Private Collection. Courtesy the artist.