London, UK - The Prudential Eye Programme and Saatchi Gallery are proud to announce the first UK solo exhibition of the Australian painter Ben Quilty, 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 exhibition at Saatchi Gallery 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.
Speaking about the exhibition, 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”.
The Prudential Eye Awards are part of the Prudential Eye Programme, a partnership between Parallel Contemporary Art and the Saatchi Gallery.The awards celebrate the often overlooked but immensely significant art being made in countries across the geographically and culturally diverse region of Greater Asia, which spreads east from Azerbaijan across Russia, China, Korea, the Philippines and as far south as New Zealand. The inaugural edition was launched in Singapore, January 2014 with an exhibition and a high profile awards ceremony.
The awards were judged by a group of experts in contemporary Asian art:
·Serenella Ciclitira (Founder, Parallel Contemporary Art)
·Andreï Erofeev (independent curator and art critic)
·Sir David Green KCMG (Former Director-General, British Council)
·Nigel Hurst, (Director and Chief Executive of the Saatchi Gallery)
·Lee Young Hye, Creative Director (Gwangju Design Biennale)
·Nick Mitzevich (Director, Art Gallery of South Australia)
·Tan Boon Hui (Group Director, Programmes Group, National Heritage Board)
Accepting his award in January 2014, Ben 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.”
The second edition of the Prudential Eye Awards returns in 2015. Nominations will be drawn from an Academy of Asian Contemporary Art comprising experts and leading curators. Nominations commence in June and close in September 2014, with the finalists announced in October this year. The finalists’ works will be shown in an exhibition in Singapore (date tba). The ceremony will be held in Singapore on 22 January 2015.
NOTES TO EDITORS
For press information and images please contact:
Hilary Davies (Singapore and Asia)
Dates:4 July - 3 August 2014.
Address:Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's HQ
King's Road, London, SW3 4RY
Opening Hours: 10.00 - 18.00
Travel: Sloane Square or Victoria Underground
About the artist:
Ben Quilty lives and works in Robertson, New South Wales, Australia and has taken up residencies abroad in Paris, France and Ascó, Spain. He was born in 1973 and grew up in Kenthurst, a suburb in the northwest of Sydney. He graduated in Painting at the University of Sydney, Sydney College of Arts in 1994 and went on to gain a Certificate in Aboriginal Culture and History at Monash University, Melbourne, in 1996.
He has won a number of awards for his painting in Australia, including the Archibald Prize in 2011 for his portrait of Australian artist Margaret Olley, and the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize for his painting of the musician Jimmy Barnes. His painting Dead (Over the Hills and Far Away) won the National Artists’ Self Portrait Prize in 2007.
In 2011 Quilty was appointed Australia’s Official War Artist (a role recently held by artists including Shaun Gladwell and Lewis Miller following a tradition started by painters Arthur Streetham and George Lambert during the First World War. He was attached to troops in the Australian Defence Force and posted to conflict zones in Kabul, Kandahar and TarinKowt, Afghanistan. The exhibition ‘Ben Quilty After Afghanistan’ was exhibited at the National Art School Sydney in 2013. Quilty also travelled to Bali in 2013 to teach painting to Australian inmates facing the death sentence while they were incarcerated at the infamous Kerobokan Prison.
Solo exhibitions include an upcoming show at the Galerie Allen, Paris in September 2014 and Jan Murphy at the Korean International Art Fair, Seoul, 2011. His work has been included in a number of group exhibitions including the Hong Kong International Art Fair (2011 and 2009) and the Archibald Prize Exhibitions (2012, 2011, 2008-9, 2004-6), and is represented in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.