Ben Quilty

24 October - 27 November 2016

Ben Quilty’s painting is not polite. Smeared, smudged, caked and slapped onto the picture plane with bold virtuosity, his rich impasto works challenge assumptions.”

- Jan Murphy Gallery

It’s with great pleasure that the Walkway Gallery presents this exhibition of Ben Quilty, from the contemporary collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia. 

This exhibition marks a renewed commitment from the Walkway Gallery to present work that reflects contemporary Australian culture and to provide a dynamic exhibition program that challenges, engages and invites locals and visiting audiences to be curious about contemporary art. 

Ben Quilty is undoubtedly one of the country’s leading contemporary artists. 

His work continues to draw critical acclaim with regular and highly successful solo exhibitions both in Australia and internationally. He has been a finalist in the prestigious Wynne and Archibald prizes, and has won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize in 2009 and the Archibald Prize in 2011. In 2014 he was awarded the Prudential Eye Award for Contemporary Art in Singapore, becoming the first Australian artist to have a solo exhibition at the influential Saatchi Gallery, London. 

Showcasing the distinct impasto technique he has become synonymous with, the show includes work from his highly regarded Rorschach series of instinctive mirror image paintings and works from his Inhabit series of portraits that span from Captain Cook to the devil himself.


This work resonates within the Australian landscape. It celebrates connections and the exploration of European settlement, the rites and rituals of masculinity, nationhood and the plight of Indigenous Australians. Time and time again, Quilty’s passionate and thoughtful approach to his subjects demonstrates a commitment to the idea art can reflect, suggest, provoke and lead social change. 

This work offers a new perspective on  challenging aspects of our culture and history. The messages are strong, deeply personal and sensitive. While delving into the world of contemporary art can be a daunting experience, I encourage you to spend some quality time here - be open,  be curious and ask questions. 

​There is no doubt that this exhibition represents an unparalleled opportunity. For this, I extend sincere thanks to the wonderful team at the Art Gallery of South Australia and Director, Nick Mitzevich who has generously supported this exhibition from the outset. Our appreciation is also extended to the Contemporary Collectors for their commitment to encouraging a greater understanding of contemporary art and developing the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia. 

Naomi Fallon

Director, Walkway Gallery

ABC South East - Ben Quilty
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Image: Ben Quilty, Australia, 1973. Inhabit, 2010, Robertson, New South Wales, Oil on linen, steel, bronze 100.0 x 80.0 cm (16 paintings each).  Gift of the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors to mark the 130th  anniversary of the Gallery 2011. Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. Courtesy of Ben Quilty.


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