|Margaret Olley: Archibald winner 2011|
The Sydney Morning Herald’s John McDonald was effusive about the picture, opining that it “ticked so many boxes the judges would have had difficulty explaining how they could ever have given the prize to anything else”. Quilty, he said, had “painted a truthful likeness without dwelling too painfully on signs of age”. Olley turns 88 in June. The Archibald win, McDonald wrote, had “confirmed Ben Quilty’s status as one of Australia’s most dynamic young artists”.
But what’s created a minor storm is Christopher Allen’s contention that the Quilty portrait “looks like the extravagantly camouflaged transcription of a photo”. “Quilty claims that he used etching and drawing, as well as photographs, in making this picture. I can believe this, because many painters can’t actually obtain a likeness from copying a photograph, or even get the shape of the face right”, Allen wrote.
|Ben Quilty by Cherry Hood|
|"Ray in Paris"|
A clearly bristling Ben Quilty has come to his own defence by issuing a challenge "to give anyone a draw-off to show that I can draw". Quilty accepted that he'd used photographic references in executing the work. "Sure, I took photographs, but I made steel-plate etchings as well, and I did drawings. I used a lot of things", he told The Australian.
Incidentally, Grubsheet thought Lucy Culliton’s entry - Ray in Paris – was particularly good and perfectly captured our old mate’s legendary bonhomie, irascibility and eye for a good tie. No need for photographs here. Ray is Lucy’s dealer, patron and friend and the picture is from real life during a rambunctious European sojourn eighteen months ago.
|Margaret Olley: Archibald winner 1948|