Ben Quilty’s captivating painting, Australian Landscape #4, is a masterful example of the artist’s bold, career-defining early works.
Quilty has referred to the paintings of this period as being about young men looking for initiation. He uses Australia as his subject matter and young men for artistic inspiration. This pivotal series investigates the male human’s obsessive, unending love affair with the car. As Germaine Greer has written, ‘Ben Quilty’s car paintings are not a childish obsession. They depict the self-destructive urges that lie at the heart of young men.’1
While masculine in its subject and vigorous manner of execution, the colour palette of Australian Landscape #4 balances the work somewhat with its soft feminine colours of blush pinks and sage greens. Here, vast swathes of paint have been boldly applied with Quilty’s characteristic verve. His love affair with the medium itself is so evident in this magnificent example from the artist’s highly desirable car / ‘landscape’ period.
1 Germaine Greer, ‘School Boy Doodles?’, The Guardian, UK, 26th October 2009