Lovers Dream (detail), 2019, oil on linen, 83.8 x 72 in.
Long recognized as one of Australia’s most lauded painters, Craig Waddell’s practice is a testament to his great passion for the tangible characteristics of paint. Associating with the styles of Willem de Kooning and Frank Auerbach, Waddell approaches his work as an emotional and physical gesture. He loves the act of pushing, pulling - practically wrestling the paint on the canvas in a vigorous, explosive manner. This materiality is evident in his finished works; his canvases vibrate with energy. The thick waves of paint capture and move the light as it falls across the undulating surface. Although he earned both his BFA and MFA, Waddell started not as a painter, but rather a sportsman, playing cricket until the age of 23. He credits the fundamentals of his artistic practice with the training and discipline learned on the playing field: preparation, practice and most importantly, movement. Texture and movement are key to his success. Using his palette knife, Waddell doesn’t just “paint” a canvas, he builds and sculpts it.

“Waddell is a visual ironist. There is nothing in these paintings beyond the gesture, yet in the language of the expressionist, there is surface, and gesture, and much more – the ghost of the figure lurks beneath the great swathes of paint.”

- Andrew Frost

As a young artist, his studio was on a rose farm, but he never painted flowers; he painted roosters, tractors and other objects. Although he was influenced by the landscape, he never felt that he was a landscape painter. However, after the passing of two dear friends, his perspective changed and flowers became a powerful subject for him. Painting and writing allowed him to “speak” to those who were no longer there. He could use these mediums to express his thoughts, feeling and emotions. He says, “I could fill my studio with flowers for days, weeks and sometimes months at a time. I could paint flowers from first bloom right through to decay. I could chronicle in paint, in colors, the slow transformation from life to death.” His brightly colored flowers and skulls celebrate those that have passed and are a memento mori for the living. 


1973        b. Sydney, Australia

Lives/works in Sydney, Australia



2003-04   Masters in Printmaking, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

1999        Bachelor of Fine Art, National Art School, Sydney, Au.



2018        New works for 10-year Survey exhibition Macquarie University

2017        Mexico Dreams Carriage Works, Sydney, Au.

2016        Mexico Dreams, Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane, Au.

                Into the Skin, Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne, Au.

2015        Headlands, Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane, Au.
                Belle Magazine Exhibition, Brisbane, Au.
                Featured artist - King’s Art Award, Solo Exhibition
2014        Songs of the Heart, Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane, Au.

                Aurora Place, Offsite Exhibition, Gallery 9

2013        Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, Gallery 9, solo exhibition

                Beautiful Creatures, Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane, Au.

2012        Melbourne Art Fair, Gallery 9, solo exhibition

                Portraits of the Past, Gallery 9, Sydney Art Month

2011        Heavenly Dreams, Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane, Au.

2010        What Dreams May Come, Gallery 9, Sydney, Au.
2009        Autumn Frolic, Gallery 9, Sydney, Au.

2008        Head Strong, Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong
                Searching, Cite Internationale des arts, Paris, France
2007        Between Heaven and Hell, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
                Art Melbourne, New Generation, Melbourne Exhibition Centre



Artbank, Sydney, Au.

Mosman Art Gallery NSW, Au.

Hawkesbury Regional Gallery NSW, Au.
Macquarie University Collection, Sydney, Au.

Kedumba Collection of Australian Drawings, NSW, Au.
Maitland Regional Gallery NSW, Au.
Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Allens Arthur Robinson Art Collection, NSW, Au.

National Art School Darlinghurst, NSW, Au.



Group Show, Stacks Projects, Sydney, Au.

In the Still, Art House, Sydney, Au.

Mugshot, Gallery Ecosse, Exeter, NSW, Au.
Melbourne Art Fair, Represented by Gallery 9, Melbourne, Au.
Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Au.
NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize, Parliament House, Sydney, Au.
Gallery 9, Last Show of the Year, Sydney, Au.
The Led Zeppelin World Tour, S.H Ervin Gallery, Sydney (curated by Kezia Geddes)
Art Dubai Contemporary Art Fair, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Artspace on 7, Time, Vision and Invention, Chiang Mai Thailand
Blake Prize for Religious Art, NAS Gallery, Sydney, Au.
Fragile Planet, NG Art Gallery, Sydney, Au.
Salon Des Refuse, National Trust S.H Ervin Gallery, Sydney
Ironic Expressionism, Virginia Wilson Gallery, Sydney, Au. (curated by Andrew Frost)

Art on the Rocks, Sydney Visitor Centre, Sydney, Au.


EMSLA Award Wollongong Contemporary Art Space

Doug Moran Portrait Award

Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Award, Bendigo Art Gallery

Paddington Art Award for Australian Landscape painting

NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize, Parliament House, Sydney, Au.

Fishers Ghost Art Award, Campbelltown Gallery

RBS Emerging Artist Award, Sydney - Winner

Mosman Art Prize - Winner


2011              Fraser Studio’s Visual Arts Residency Programme, Sydney, Au.
2008              Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, Fr.
2008/2007    Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship Chiang Mai University, Thailand

2004/2005    Hanoi University, Hanoi Vietnam (3 months))