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Ben Quilty and Margaret Olley Exhibition at Brisbane’s GOMA

Ben Quilty and Margaret Olley are together again with a major exhibition at GOMA Brisbane.

Quilty has been quietly painting at his Southern Highlands studio since he retreated from the limelight after tirelessly campaigning to save the life of Bali Nine friend Myuran Sukumaran.

Now, a retrospective of Quilty's work will be shown alongside his mentor Margaret Olley at Brisbane's GOMA.

Olley and Quilty were a dynamic artistic duo whose friendship began in 2002 when Olley presented him with the Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship. Their friendship continued until her death in July 2011 — just three months after Quilty's remarkable portrait of Olley won the Archibald Prize.

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said 'A Generous Life' featured more than 100 works and would engage audiences in a richly colourful journey exploring the legacy and influence of Margaret Olley, one of Australia's much-loved artists.

'We are thrilled to be presenting this multifaceted exhibition as a celebration of Olley's extraordinary life as an artist, mentor, muse, passionate collector and donor, alongside an exhibition of 70 works by her good friend Ben Quilty,' Mr Saines said.

'We took the opportunity to program these exhibitions by two different yet equally committed artists so our audiences could consider Olley's influence, legacy and her connection to Quilty.

Mr Saines said Ben Quilty would be onsite in early June to create site-specific, hand-drawn portraits of Olley at GOMA.

The exhibition highlights Olley's enduring love of travel and her passion for portraiture, still life and interiors. It includes many examples of her painted by other artists, including William Dobell and Jeffrey Smart, and a selection of works she bought then generously gifted to public institutions, including pictures by European artists Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Giorgio Morandi, Pablo Picasso, Edouard Vuillard and others.

Reflecting an equally driven passion for art making, 'Quilty' offers audiences a bold portrait of a socially engaged contemporary artist committed to art's capacity to raise awareness and instigate change.

While 'Quilty' is showing in Brisbane, the Children's Art Centre at GOMA will feature a project for children and families developed in collaboration with the artist, his 13-year-old son Joe and 10-year-old daughter Olivia. An aspiring artist himself, Joe Quilty has painted a portrait of his father which will feature in the space and, along with his sister Olivia, shares tips on how to draw a portrait.

'Margaret Olley: A Generous Life' opens at GOMA Brisbane from 15 June, while 'Quilty' opens from 29 June, both are free exhibitions and run through until October 2019

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Images: GOMA. Ben Quilty image by Daniel Boud.
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