Born in 1946, Richard Killeen graduated from the Elam School of Fine Arts in 1964, having studied there under Colin McCahon. After graduating, he painted hard-edged, pop-realist works grounded in the realities of middle-class suburban life, a reaction against the then-prevalent Nationalist school of landscape painting. Killeen began producing his “cut-outs” in 1978: works comprised of free-floating groups of lacquered aluminium forms. Killeen embraced the possibilities of digital technology in the late 90s and early 2000s, and now uses software extensively to produce his works.
Killeen’s work has been shown at the Sydney Biennale, the Kwangju Biennale in Korea and the Sao Paolo Biennial in Brazil, in addition to shows in New York and Venice. Killeen was the subject of the Auckland Art Gallery’s touring retrospective Stories We Tell Ourselves in 1999. Killeen was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002. He lives and works in Auckland.