What, in the end, are these paintings? What are they attempting to achieve? My best but wholly provisional answer is that theyʼre experiments in the transfer of feeling…
The painter who stood where we stand now is proffering a model of feeling – they are saying that, on this day and under these circumstances, this is how they wrangled the world. And as fellow ʼfeelersʼ approaching the work, we get to measure ourselves against that model. Is it useful? Can we see what they mean? And if not, is the difference illuminating? It is not about ʼlikingʼ or feeling liked back. It is about being compelled. Quilty compels through paintings that are, as we are, alive and conflicted.
– Justin Paton, Head curator international, Art Gallery NSW, essay quote from the book Ben Quilty (2019).
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