The first UK solo exhibition of the Australian painter Ben Quilty is to be held at the Saatchi Gallery from 4 July – 3 August 2014. The exhibition celebrates the artist’s achievements in being the overall winner of the inaugural Prudential Eye Awards. In addition to this solo show, Quilty was awarded a prize of USD 50,000.
The show will include a selection of Quilty’s paintings from his acclaimed Rorschach series to his highly expressive portraits which use his distinctive and gestural painterly style. He frequently exploits this rich impasto finish by mirroring the painted surface on a twin blank canvas, mimicking the famous psychoanalytic ‘Rorschach’ technique to reference the reflective, interrogative nature of his work.
Born in 1973 in Sydney, Quilty makes paintings that meditate both on his own past growing up in Australia and on Australia’s wider cultural history. He is becoming widely known for both his unsettling subject matter and quick working method, which deliberately leaves smears, smudges and almost three-dimensional brush marks on the canvas. His works feature in the collections of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney amongst many other significant museums.
Nigel Hurst, CEO, Saatchi Gallery said: “The Saatchi Gallery is delighted to be able to host this exhibition and provide a showcase for recent work by renowned Australian artist Ben Quilty for the very first time. The show provides a wonderful opportunity to bring his unique and very individual Rorschach paintings and portraits to the attention of a new audience”.
Accepting his Prudential Eye award in January Quilty said: “As an Australian artist I am aware of how remote Australia is in the sense that we have European heritage and yet are very much remote from Europe. We struggle to define our identity and thus we create barriers, yet we are geographically bang in the middle of South East Asia. This is an important prize that is about positively enriching that cross cultural bond.”