Paul Cullen’s first degree was a BsC in Botany from Auckland University, acquired in 1971. This grounding in science was to have a formative effect on Cullen’s practice, which was often concerned with experimentation, and with exploration of the nature of knowledge. In 2000, Cullen completed a Master of Fine Arts degree, and in 2007 was awarded a Doctorate in Fine Arts, both from Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts.
Cullen’s work was notable for its references to the applied sciences and for their wry humour. Notable exhibitions of Cullen’s work include New Zealand Drawing (1976) and Young Contemporaries and Auckland Artits (1977) (both at the Auckland City Art Gallery), the Mildura Sculpture Triennial in Victoria, Australia (1978), Aspects of Recent New Zealand Art Sculpture 1 (1986) and Made Active: The Chartwell Show (2012).
In addition to his art practice, Cullen was also an accomplished educator, holding the position of Associate Professor at Auckland University of Technology’s School of Art and Design.