Adam Cullen, painter and winner in 2000, of the Archibald Prize; the most important portraiture prize in Australia, was born in Sydney in 1965.
Cullen has been the recipient or finalist in a number of distinguished art prizes. He won the Archibald for his portrait of actor David Wenham, which he famously spent only three hours creating. Adam Cullen has since been identified as one of Australia's most collectable contemporary artists. He is top of the Art Gallery of NSW Contemporary "12 Hottest" list. Cullen
has exhibited extensively both individually and, in group exhibitions, in Australia and overseas. His work is widely collected.
Cullen's work provokes us and makes us wonder. He has an extraordinary sense of humour and pathos and plays a delicate balancing act between ‘punk brashness’ and a relentless honesty, expressing his own doubts about himself and the world around him. His work approaches or presents difficult social issues with a light touch. His paintings often unite high and low culture.
The content of his repertoire often revolves around issues of national and gendered identity, addressing racial intolerance, bigotry, sexism and political and social hypocrisies. Cullen's work displays a keen eye for abstraction and for more or less traditional painterly qualities. Stylistically, particularly in his graphics, Cullen borrows from popular graffiti and by doing so,
questions the boundaries that traditionally separate art from life.
As an artist Cullen says he's not exactly trying to find the truth: "I think art is about asking a lot of questions."
Adam passed away July 29th 2012.