Ben Quilty (born 1973 in Sydney) is an Australian artist who won the 2011 Archibald Prize. Quilty grew up in Kenthurst in Sydney’s north-west. He lives and works in Robertson, New South Wales. He is a graduate of the Sydney College of the Arts at the University of Sydney.Quilty also graduated from the University of Western Sydney with a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication. A multiple finalist, Quilty won the Archibald Prize in 2011 for his portrait of Australian artist Margaret Olley. It was his seventh entry to the prize.
In 2009, he won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, Australia’s most lucrative portrait prize, for a painting of Australian musician Jimmy Barnes. His painting Dead (Over the Hills and Far Away) won the National Artists Self Portrait prize in 2007.
This link contains a great overview of his work http://janmurphygallery.com.au/artists.php?aid=22
The following are videos of Quilty talking about his work and his inspirations:
Patricia Piccinini (born in 1965 in Freetown, Sierra Leone) is an Australian artist and hyperrealistsculptor. Her art work came to prominence in Australia in the late 1990s. In 2003 she was selected as the artist to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale.
Piccinini’s mixed media works include the series Truck Babies, and the installation We are Family which was exhibited in Venice in 2003. Piccinini works with a wide range of media, including sculpture, video, drawing,installation and digital prints. Her major artworks often reflect her interests in issues such as bioethics,biotechnologies and the environment. Other Australian artists who work in a similar idiom are Martine Corompt,Sam Jinks and Ron Mueck.
According to the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia,
Piccinini has an ambivalent attitude towards technology and she uses her artistic practice as a forum for discussion about how technology impacts upon life. She is keenly interested in how contemporary ideas of nature, the natural and the artificial are changing our society. Specific works have addressed concerns about biotechnology, such as gene therapy and ongoing research to map the human genome… she is also fascinated by the mechanisms of consumer culture.”
Piccinini’s work often anthropomorphises inanimate objects and presents them with a high degree of industrial finish, revealing the equal influence of 19th Century Surrealism and 20th Century advertising.
Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992) was an Irish-born British figurative painter known for his bold, graphic and emotionally raw imagery.Bacon’s painterly but abstracted figures typically appear isolated in glass or steel geometrical cages set against flat, nondescript backgrounds. He began painting during his early 20s and worked only sporadically until his mid-30s. Before this time he drifted, earning his living as an interior decorator and designer of furniture and rugs. Later, he admitted that his career was delayed because he had spent too long looking for a subject that would sustain his interest.His breakthrough came with the 1944 triptych Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, and it was this work and his heads and figures of the late 1940s through to the mid-1950s that sealed his reputation as a notably bleak chronicler of the human condition.