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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Angel Street (Adam Cullen)

2010
Darren McDonald

oil on linen (support: 137.5 cm x 122.0 cm)
Image not available (NC)

Adam Cullen (1965–2012), painter, studied art in Sydney from 1986 to 1999, when he obtained his master’s degree in fine arts from the University of New South Wales. He held his first solo exhibition in 1993, and exhibited annually from then until his death at home in Angel Street, Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains. Commonly working in house paints, he specialised in repulsively and brutally amusing depictions of bestial men, flabby, bleeding women and dismembered animals, managing simultaneously to appear to sneer at, and identify unflinchingly with, the condition of existence.

Like Cullen, Darren McDonald has often painted animals, but his own style emphasises the vulnerability of the ‘sitter’. McDonald met Cullen through art collector Peter Fay and asked if he could paint his portrait but found it difficult to organise due to Cullen’s health and state of mind. 'I always thought of Adam as reserved, shy and, when sober, a gentleman. In the studio I had a photo of the artist Jackson Pollock that I was keeping for reference but it somehow became the base for the portrait of Adam. Somehow it worked. I imagine they might have had a few things in common.'

Purchased 2012

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Darren McDonald (age 44 in 2010)

Adam Cullen (age 45 in 2010)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Self Portrait with Stetson, 2011 by Darren McDonald
Self Portrait with Stetson, 2011 by Darren McDonald
Self Portrait with Stetson, 2011 by Darren McDonald
Self Portrait with Stetson, 2011 by Darren McDonald

Painting them gently

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2015

Penny Grist on motivation, method and melancholy in the portraiture of Darren McDonald.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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