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Adam Cullen won the prestigious Archibald prize in 2000 with a portrait of Australian actor, David Wenham. His raw, expressionist, ‘grunge’ style was famously showcased in this piece.

Cullen’s friend and lawyer Charles Waterstreet reported to ‘the Age’ newspaper in 2012, that “We have lost a great artist, who lived and breathed the life of an artist”. Cullen had passed away in his sleep at 47 years of age.

“Cullen was a colourful and controversial artist who used a striking style to examine everything from crime, to masculinity to cowboy culture”.

CHG is delighted to offer for sale what is possibly the largest private collection of works available from iconic Australian artist, Adam Cullen.

This collection includes over thirty-six works. Amongst these are six oil paintings. Two of these are major works that have previously been exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW and represent an excellent opportunity for the discerning and astute art collector.

Within the collection you’ll also find a diverse range of affordable works on paper and etchings, ideal for the new art collector. Cullen's iconic Ned Kelly, Roo and Horses are also showcased. Further, a suite of limited edition bronze sculptures perfectly complements the wall art!


One of Australia’s most colorful, collectible contemporary artists, Adam Cullen was well known for his involvement in the “grunge” art movement of the early 1990s. His work examined everything from masculinity, crime and cowboy culture.

Being passionate about art and drawing from an early age, Adam Cullen produced cartoons for the local Collaroy Plateau newspaper and went on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Diploma of Professional Art and a Master of Fine Arts, finishing his academic career in 1999.

In an event that foresaw his artistic fascination with death and decomposition, Cullen lived for two weeks during his schooling with a decaying pig’s head chained to his ankle as part of a performance art project. Attending classes and reportedly sleeping with his leg out of the window to avoid the growing stench, he only abandoned the act when the local bus driver refused to let him aboard with the rotting appendage.

Working from his studio in Wentworth Falls, New South Wales, Cullen painted whilst listening to punk bands such as the Butthole Surfers, Black Flag and the Meat Puppets, his works focusing on the inevitable rot and mess of existence. Dead cats, rotting kangaroos and headless bodies pervade his pieces, demonstrating that, as an artist, Cullen wished his audience to experience strong emotions as a result of his art, sidestepping more rational, critical responses.

Cullen’s often provocative works explore issues of racial intolerance, bigotry, political and social hypocrisy and sexism. A stand-out piece, Shut up, nobody wants to hear your stories (2000), comments on society’s objectification of the female form, featuring a leering man’s head staring at a beheaded, nude female figure.

His style often borrowed from so-called “low” cultural influences such as graffiti, resulting in some critics describing his provocative works as crude and simplistic, their only intent being to shock the middle classes.

With this in view, it came as a surprise to some when Cullen received the distinguished Archibald Prize in 2000 with his portrait of actor David Wenham. This recognition resulted in a much larger audience for his works, and his style changed noticeably to a bolder pop-art style, featuring strong black outlines and thick, dripping paints.

Despite becoming a critically acclaimed artist, Cullen continued to create controversy illustrating notorious criminal Chopper Reid’s book Hooky the Cripple in 2002, and in 2003 exhibiting a painting of John Travers, a convicted murderer, causing outrage from the claim that Cullen sought to glorify the criminal, an accusation the artist strongly denied.

Cullen’s works are represented in all major art galleries in Australia and in 2012 an untitled Ned Kelly painting sold for $27,000 at auction, a personal record for the artist.


Gavin Fry is a writer, artist and publisher, working in Newcastle, New South Wales. After a long career in museums and galleries, in retirement he has returned to painting after three decades away from the easel. His work is currently being exhibited at Cooks Hill Gallery in Newcastle, as well as exhibitions nationally.

As a writer Gavin has published more than twenty books on Australian art and history and has of recent times begun to publish books on behalf of other writers and artists.

Gavin's recent body of work has been directed to Newcastle icons. Gavin’s style is expressionist incorporating vertical light planes and angles somewhat rendering a cubist influence with a 1970’s aura.


Shannon Woodward is an emerging cubist figurative artist. She completed a Fine Arts Diploma in 2004 and has exhibited with Quirindi Fine Art Galleries, SAASS Art Studio and Cooks Hill Galleries. Her style has become more explosive in recent times, with the cubist elements becoming more stylised with the figure being offset by an expressionist backdrop.

Woodwards work often appears quite 3 dimensional with a controlled and considered balance between foreground and landscape. This is an exciting direction for the artist. Artists who have influenced Shannon include Piet Mondrian, Marcel Duchamp, Kandinsky, Norman Lindsay and Brett Whiteley.


Discover more about represented artist Gavin Fry by reviewing his artist profile and major works here. Review Adam Cullen's top Australian artist profile here.


The digital exhibition catalogue is available for download here.