Ben Quilty - Photo of the artist in his home - Image via janmurphygallerycomau

Ben Quilty

Australia 1973


Ben Quilty
Ben Quilty
September 26, 2016
Andreja Velimirović is a passionate content writer with a knack for art and old movies. Majoring in art history, he is an expert on avant-garde modern movements and medieval church fresco decorations. Feel free to contact him via his Linkedin profile:

Famous for his social commentaries which vary from subtle to very direct, Ben Quilty is an Australian artist who employs an impasto style of painting. Smearing and smudging his paint onto large canvases, this artist presents us with a unique ability to create a dark and uncanny atmosphere despite using relatively bright colors. Through various themes based on masculinity and mortality, Ben’s art seeks to explore the hidden psychologies of both individuals and locations.

In 2016, history of every gallery and museum is open information, often available on video
Ben Quilty – Self Portrait Smashed Rorschach, 2009 – Image via

Ben’s Path to Art

Ben spent his childhood in Kenthurst, a suburb of northwest Sydney, in the state of New South Wales. By his own acclaim, Ben was a reckless teenager with his weekends filled with hard drinking. He earned his education by studying at Kenthurst Public School and the Oakhill College – the school which marked the beginning of his professional career as an artist. Whilst still a student of this institution, Ben exhibited his HSC artwork in ArtExpress during the year of 1991. Thanks to the success of the said exhibition, Ben was chosen to be the recipient of the Julian Ashton Summer School Scholarship. Spurred by this award, Ben decided art is something worth pursuing a career in. During the year of 1994, Quilty followed his interest in art and obtained a Bachelor degree in Visual Arts, received from the prestigious Sydney College of the Arts. After graduating, he then studied visual communication, design and women’s studies at Western Sydney University, wrapping up another Bachelor of Arts in 2002. Ben had a lot of trouble with making himself noticeable by art circles and that situation eventually led him to a decision to concentrate on his stories of his past when he was a reckless and rebellious young man. Besides other interesting depictions[1] of cars and grotesque Siamese-twin compositions, he gained worldwide attention mostly due to his honest and unique portraits created on a borderline abstract visual vocabulary. During the year of 2011, Ben was attached to the Australian Defence Force for about one month. He was tasked with observing their activities in Kabul, Kandahar and Tarin Kowt[2], as well as to record and render the activities of serviceman deployed at these locations. Amazing artworks created during that time eventually ended up in the Australian War Memorial’s National Collection and present some of the finest and authentic war pieces created since World War II.

In 2011, Ben Quilty was attached to the Australian Defence Force stationed in Afghanistan and was tasked to record the activities of soldiers stationed there

Visit every gallery as they are education institutions
Ben Quilty – Captain S, after Afghanistan, 2012 – Image via


During his career, this artist received many awards and prizes for his artworks. Among many other recognitions, Ben won the Archibald Prize in 2011 for his portrait of artist Margaret Olley, the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize for a depiction of musician Jimmy Barnes in 2009, the National Self Portrait prize in 2007 and the 2014 Prudential Eye Award. Keep in mind that these are only some of his recognitions and that there are many more of them in his Curriculum Vitae. Luckily for both himself and the audience, there should be many more future awards in store for Quilty both due to his creative drive and general talent.

Ben Quilty lives and works in Robertson, New South Wales.


  1. Low, L. A., The hot seat: Ben Quilty, The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 March 2007
  2. Vasey, T., Ben Quilty Official War Artist, Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 14 December 2011

Featured image: Ben Quilty – Photo of the artist – Image via
All images used for illustrative purposes only.

YearExhibition Titlegallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Ben Quilty The Stain Tolarno GalleriesSolo
2016Ben Quilty The Stain Tolarno GalleriesSolo
2016Hot Rods Goulburn Regional Art GalleryGroup
2015Ben Quilty Sydney Contemporary Art Fair with Jan Murphy GallerySolo
2015Ben Quilty Straight White Male Pearl Lam Galleries Hong KongSolo
2015This is the End... Guy Maestri, Ben Quilty and Luke Sciberras Bathurst Regional Art GalleryGroup
2015Australian Artists Bali McClelland Sculpture Park + GalleryGroup
2015Art from Australia Gail Art Museum, South KoreaGroup
2015Art Cologne Germany Pearl Lam GalleriesGroup
2015Art Basel Hong Kong Tolarno Galleries + Pearl Lam GalleriesGroup
2014Ben Quilty Alien Galerie Allen ParisSolo
2014Ben Quilty Saatchi Gallery LondonSolo
2014Ben Quilty Kuta Beach Hong Kong Art Fair with Tolarno GalleriesSolo
2014Ben Quilty Drawing Tolarno Galleries Melbourne AustraliaSolo
2014Cars = My Automolove Caboolture Regional Art GalleryGroup
2014Embodied Pearl Lam Galleries Hong KongGroup
2014Istanbul Art International Pearl Lam GalleriesGroup
2014Melbourne Art Fair Tolarno Galleries + Pearl Lam GalleriesGroup
2014Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art Dark Heart Art Gallery of South AustraliaGroup
2014Private Assembly A Contemporary Collection Tweed Regional GalleryGroup
2013Trigger-Happy: Ben Quilty's Brave New World Drill Hall Gallery Australian National University CanberraSolo
2013Olivias Dream Jan Murphy Gallery, BrisbaneSolo
2013Ben Quilty The Fiji Wedding Tolarno Galleries Melbourne AustraliaSolo
2013Ben Quilty After Afghanistan National Art School Sydney then touring nationallySolo
2013Sydney Contemporary Jan Murphy GalleryGroup
2013Air Born McClelland Gallery Victoria AustraliaGroup
2013Middle Head Exhibition Mosman Art Gallery AustraliaGroup
2013Divide and Context Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, GoulburnGroup
2012Ben Quilty My Brothers And Other Paintings Jan Murphy Gallery Off-site AdelaideSolo
2012Ben Quilty Jan Murphy Gallery at Korean International Art Fair, Seoul, KoreaSolo
2012Ben Quilty Jan Murphy Gallery at Melbourne International Art FairSolo
2012Rapture of Death Gippsland Art GalleryGroup
2012Midwinter Master: Artist & mentorThe Gallery at Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre, MelbourneGroup
2012The Gold Award Rockhampton Art GalleryGroup
2012UnknownNAS Gallery, National Art School, Darlinghurst, SydneyGroup
2011Ben QuiltyJan Murphy Gallery at Korean International Art Fair, Seoul, KoreaSolo
2011A Convergence of Birds Goulburn Regional Art GallerySolo
2011The Evo Project GRANTPIRRIE, Offsite, Hong KongSolo
2011In Great Trouble : the traumatic australian landscape Bondi BeachGroup
2011UnknownArt Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Group
2011Out of The Comfort Zone Customs House, SydneyGroup
2011Together in Harmony for 50 Years: Linking Australian and Korean Arts Korea Cultural Exchange Centre, Seoul, KoreaGroup
2011UnknownAwake Bom Gallery, Seoul, KoreaGroup
2011Australian Masterpieces from the TWMA Collection,TarraWarra Museum of Art, VictoriaGroup
2010Trashed LOST Projects, Manila, PhilipinesSolo
2010Inhabit GRANTPIRRIE, SydneySolo
2010Ben Quilty Jan Murphy Gallery, BrisbaneSolo
2010Hayman Collection: Volume One Horsham Regional Art Gallery, VictoriaGroup
2010Time Travel : reimagining the past Tweed River Art Gallery, MurwillumbahGroup
2010An Oeuvre Both Abundant and Diverse SCA Galleries, Sydney College of the Arts, SydneyGroup
2010Salon des Refuses S.H. Ervin Gallery, SydneyGroup
2009Critical Impact GRANTPIRRIE, Offsite, MelbourneSolo
2009Ben Quilty LIVE! University of Queensland Art Museum - Tarrawarra Museum of Art, MelbourneSolo
2009The Shilo Project The Ian Potter Gallery, University of Melbourne, MelbourneGroup
2009Darwin's Bastards Verge Gallery University of SydneyGroup
2009Welcome to the Death Show: The Death Project Stage 2 Parramatta Artists Studios, SydneyGroup
2009UnknownSalon Newcastle Region Art Gallery, NewcastleGroup
2009Victory Over The Sun Utopian Slumps, MelbourneGroup
2009Wheels On Fire Manning Regional Art Gallery, TareeGroup
2009On Rage Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane, curated by Ben QuiltyGroup
2009UnknownArt Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
2009Wheels on Fire Manning Regional Art Gallery, TareeGroup
2009Ben Quilty Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, GoulburnGroup
2008Smashed GRANTPIRRIE Melbourne Art Fair - Newcastle University Art GallerySolo
2008Smashed GRANTPIRRIE, SydneySolo
2008More Work From The Man Cave Jan Murphy Gallery, BrisbaneSolo
2008New Work From The Man Cave Jan Murphy Gallery, BrisbaneSolo
2008Pride and Patriotism GRANTPIRRIE, SydneySolo
2008UnknownUniversity of Queensland Art Museum, BrisbaneGroup
2008In Captivity, Animals in the Dubbo Regional Gallery Collection Dubbo Regional GalleryGroup
2008Neo Goth, Back in Black University of Queensland Art Museum, BrisbaneGroup
2008Repeat that Again! The Serial Impulse in Art Since the Sixties University of Queensland Art Museum, BrisbaneGroup
2008GRANTPIRRIE GAG Greenaway Art GalleryGroup
2008UnknownGifted Dell Gallery, Griffith University, Queensland College of the ArtsGroup
2008CONTEMPORANEOUS : Australian Contemporary Painting 1 Wangaratta Gallery, WangarattaGroup
2008The Archibald Prize exhibition Art Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
2008I'm a good boy First Draft, SydneyGroup
2007Death Wish Newcastle Region Art GallerySolo
2007New Acquisitions Museum of Contemporary Art, SydneyGroup
2007Snap Freeze Tarra Warra Museum of Art, VictoriaGroup
2007National ArtistsUniversity of Queensland Art Museum, BrisbaneGroup
2007Considering Portraiture and Figuration QUT Art Museum, BrisbaneGroup
2007Current: Sculpture Projects The Sebel Parramatta, SydneyGroup
2007Cuisine and Country Orange Regional GalleryGroup
2007The Led Zeppelin World Tour Exhibition Lismore Regional GalleryGroup
2007Pants Down, Surprise! in-Transit Gallery, Portside Wharf, BrisbaneGroup
2006Ben Quilty Jan Murphy Gallery at the Melbourne Art Fair, MelbourneSolo
2006Ache GRANTPIRRIE, SydneySolo
2006Truth and Likeness National Portrait Gallery, CanberraGroup
2006The Year In Art SH Ervin Gallery, SydneyGroup
2006UnknownArt Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
2006Flaming Youth Orange Regional Art Gallery, NSWGroup
2006Ironic Expressionism Virginia Wilson Art, SydneyGroup
2006Poor Yorick Virginia Wilson Art, SydneyGroup
2006Monsters Albury Regional Art Gallery, New South WalesGroup
2006UnknownArt Gallery of NSW, SydneyGroup
2006Figure 8 Deloitte, Sydney and MelbourneGroup
2006Animals as Allegory QUT, BrisbaneGroup
2006Driving Passions Ipswich Art Gallery, QldGroup
2006Post-It Exquisite Corpse Peleton, SydneyGroup
2005We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place Jan Murphy Gallery, BrisbaneSolo
2005Life's What You Do While You're Waiting To Die Mansuell Wickes At Mary Place Gallery, SydneySolo
2005Autofetish : mechanics of desire Newcastle Regional GalleryGroup
2005Thai-Australian Contemporary prints Chiangmai University Art MuseumGroup
2005Thai-Australian Contemporary prints COFA, SydneyGroup
2005UnknownABN Amro Building, SydneyGroup
2005Recent Aquisitions Newcastle Region Art GalleryGroup
2005The Archibald PrizeArt Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
2005Salon De Refuses S.H.Ervin Gallery, SydneyGroup
200510th Anniversary Exhibition Jan Murphy Gallery, BrisbaneGroup
2005UnknownMetro 5 Art Prize MelbourneGroup
2005Artists protest ant sedition laws Casula Powerhouse Art CentreGroup
2005Friends and Neighbours Hawkesbury Regional GalleryGroup
2004Beauty, Rich and Rare Scott Livesey Art Dealer, MelbourneSolo
2004Young and Free? Jan Murphy Gallery, BrisbaneSolo
2004Archibald and Wynne Prize ExhibitionsArt Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
2004UnknownMosman Art Gallery and Community CentreGroup
2004Show Me Your Sexy Urbanity Fotos Hohenstrausenstr, Frankfurt, GermanyGroup
2004UnknownMetro 5 Art Prize MelbourneGroup
2004UnknownKings School Art Prize Group
2003Torana Maunsell Wickes Gallery, SydneySolo
2003Salon De Refusee S.H.Ervin Gallery, SydneyGroup
2003Emerging Artists Mary Place SydneyGroup
2003UnknownMetro 5 Art Prize MelbourneGroup
2002New Paintings Barry Stern Galleries, SydneySolo
2002UnknownUniversity and Schools Club Art Show SydneyGroup
2002Unknown AGNSW, SydneyGroup
2002Emerging ArtistsMary Place Inaugural Group Show, SydneyGroup
2001Paris Step Gallery, SydneySolo
2001UnknownArt Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
2001UnknownAGNSW, SydneyGroup
2001UnknownMosman Art Prize Mosman Art Gallery and Community CentreGroup
2001BareBones Art Space Bangalow, Selected WorkGroup
2000UnknownArt Gallery of NSW, SydneyGroup
1994UnknownPukka Allen Street Gallery, SydneyGroup
1991UnknownArtexpress Art Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
1989Rocks Painters Picnic Age and Open WinnerSydney Festival of the ArtsGroup